This was another week where things happened much slower than they should have. But it looks like I’m over the hump now and things should proceed more smoothly from now on.
First with the insurance policy, it got held up because they didn’t have my business ID number which hadn’t been issued yet because starting a business as a foreigner is a pain in the ass. Anyways, they didn’t tell me this until several days after the forms went in and I was expecting the insurance to be issued. If you’ll recall, I can’t order the equipment from Subway until the insurance is issued.
Anyways, on Thursday I received my business registration certificate from Taipei City, so today I was able to get it into the insurance agent who is now issuing the policy. Once this is done, things should start moving along more quickly, as this has been the hangup for a lot of things so far.
Also this week I got the two authorized vendors for construction/remodeling in to look over the shop and come up with quotes for the remodeling. It’s a bit higher than I had expected, so I’m suffering a little sticker shock right now. The one good thing is the guy that I liked better came in with the lower quote. Need to go back and bargain the price down a bit if I can.
I’d been waiting on my financial adviser to give me the cost basis for some mutual fund sales before doing my US taxes. I got them today and also managed to whip my tax return out quickly through TurboTax Online. It turns out I’m getting a pretty good refund this year. I was expecting to owe a bit.
If you haven’t done your taxes you can get 50% off TurboTax Online through Fidelity. You don’t need to be a Fidelity customer, you just have to give them your name and address and such.
Monday is Tomb Sweeping Day, so this weekend we are going to Tainan to visit the graves of my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law.
Who are the morons who design USB Flash Drives? I have four of these now, and out of them exactly zero have a place to stick the cap when the drive is in use. One of the caps is already missing, and now I have an extra cap rattling around on my desk because its drive is permanently plugged into my router. And unfortunately the caps are not standardized either, so the missing cap can’t be replaced by the unused cap. Meanwhile, of the dozen or so pens with caps on my desk, exactly ALL of them can store the cap on the butt end of the pen while the pen is in use. Every last one of them.
So here’s two pieces of advice for USB Flash Drive designers: 1) Take your pens out of your drawer and study them carefully. A detailed engineering analysis should give you some ideas on how to make your flash drives be able to store the caps on their butt end when the drive is in use. The pen industry no doubt spent billions of dollars researching how to do this, but you can make use of their hard work for free. 2) You guys all use the same USB connectors, so make your cap fit over the USB connector, and not just fit the random size of your drive’s plastic case. Caps that fit the USB connector will be interchangeable amongst ANY drive.
Another thing that happened yesterday is they finally got my new Internet connection configured the way I wanted. I had asked for a bridged static IP line but they had set it up with PPPOE instead. They had said it would take up to a week (from last Tuesday) to get it reconfigured. What happened was that on Monday afternoon my connection stopped working. A few minutes later Maggie called me up that she had received a text message on her phone with my IP address information. I reconfigured my gateway box and it started working. Yay.
Sunday and Monday was still having the runs, so I went back to Dr. Liu last night. He checked me over and said the problem was my body was still irritated by whatever I came down with and there was lots of gas still. He told me to be more patient and keep on with the medicine. I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect or what, but today I certainly feel better. It also probably doesn’t hurt that it’s beautiful weather today. Oh, and I actually feel *hungry* today which is usually a good sign with this sort of thing.
The insurance is in, but they need a few days for processing, so my US equipment order is still being held up by that. I talked to the two authorized contractors today and yesterday and should have quotes from them in a few days too.
Yesterday afternoon and evening were not very fun with lots of time in the bathroom with things coming out both ends. I went to see Dr. Liu and got a bunch of medicine though which has stopped things, and managed to eat some bread this morning without incident.
In other news I’ve ordered the speed oven (toaster) for the shop which is pretty $$$. Just got the insurance stuff sorted out so as soon as that’s done I’ll be able to get the US equipment order in the pipe.
Got back this morning. TSA busted the side clasp on one of my suitcases even though it was just a clasp not a lock. Grr. Another annoyance was that before I left I had applied to change the ISP on my ADSL service. They had said it would be done before I left but didn’t get to it until a few days after I left. Then when I got back I found out that they had given me a PPPOE account instead of a bridged static IP account that we’d asked for. That’ll be up to a week to change.
Other than that things went fine.
I’m sitting in the EVA Lounge now waiting for it to be time to board the flight to Taipei.
On Saturday night I went to dinner with Trent and Jenny and family and Jenny’s sister and daughter to Mega Byte Pizza. It was pretty fun. Today I just finished up some various chores, went to the bank and the post office and packed my bags. I’m traveling light this time with my bags only weighing 60 lbs and 55 lbs respectively. Last time one of my bags was right at the 70lb limit on the dot.
I forgot to mention in the last update that on Thursday afternoon the founder of Subway, Fred DeLuca came in to talk to the class for about an hour. It wasn’t Jared, but it was still pretty interesting. He still seems to be really involved and excited in the business.
Thursday was all classroom session again, stuff like security and point of sale system. Friday morning was online training options, marketing, and then a final International session on leasing. Since all of us in the International group were already done with leasing or close to it, the leasing guy just did an informal Q&A.
Then at 11am we started in on the final. It was split into two parts so that we could go to lunch between the two parts. The final was pretty complicated and took me until almost 3pm (including lunch break). I ended up getting 97.5 on the final, so I managed to just scrape by with a pass. 😉
My diploma was ready shortly after finishing the test, and went down to the car to cram my books into my suitcase and head to JFK. Traffic was quite light all the way until getting to the Van Wyck Expressway between La Guardia and JFK. But with the early departure I got checked in well before my flight. Again there was a long line for check in desks and no wait for the self check-in machines. wtf?
The in flight satellite service was still kinda busted. About 1/4 of the channels weren’t working, but the rest of the channels came in clearly most of the time. I managed to get in to Santa Clara and in bed by 1am. I woke up at a little past 6am but forced myself back to sleep until 8:30am.
This morning I went to the bank to wire money for the equipment imported from the US for my shop, then edpark and I went to lunch at Thai Garden. scrungew00t was supposed to go with us, but he decided to go to Seattle with some chick. It was great as usual. This afternoon I did some final shopping errands including picking up a 512mb USB stick for $9.99 after rebate at Fry’s.
Tonight is dinner with Jenny and Trent and family and Jenny’s sister too. Tomorrow night I’ll be heading back to Taipei and will arrive early Tuesday morning.
Monday started out with a quiz. The rest of the day was all classroom stuff. For the last couple of hours the dozen or so International folks like me split off to a separate session. Tuesday we were in store the whole day. This time we were mostly on our own. The manager was there, but she wanted us to do as much as we could on our own. We did pretty well. Wednesday morning we were back in the store again, this time to do weekly inventory and paperwork. After we were done it was back to the training center. They had a store opened up downstairs selling Subway branded stuff so I got a few shirts and some Subway toys for Emily. By then the latest quiz results were up and I had aced it again, including the bonus question for 105 points. At this point that means I only have to get 56.5% on the Final to pass the course with the required 80% average. The rest of the afternoon was class, again with the International group splitting off for the last part of the day.
All day Saturday we did our in-store training. We first learned how to make bread and cookies, then we did prep work and finished up just as the store started getting busy for lunch. Most of the rest of the time we did customer service and then when things slowed down we did cleaning and then were let off for the day. It’s a lot of work, but the day went surprisingly fast.
Today I woke up to overcast skies and a steady drizzle. It’s warmed up here, but I liked it better when it was cold but sunny. All of the snow has melted off now with the rain. I went out to Chip’s Family Restaurant for lunch where I had their Turkey dinner which was just like a Thanksgiving meal: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce and corn. Even after completely stuffing myself I had some left over which will be my dinner. Oof.
I’m gonna be a bum the rest of the day.