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Monday, October 23, 2006
Seriously God? A Sandstorm?!

Pump It Up, the place I work, is holding it's National Convention in San Jose this week. And if you read my blog last week, (just scroll down a few posts) you'll remember that I worked a lot of overtime creating two videos for the convention. One video on Autism, and one video for our new concept "Pump It Up Jr." which is just like PIU, except it's for the ages of 3-7, instead of 6-whatever.

Now look. Even though you may think I'm the type of person that goes around looking for pats on the back and recognition for certain things, I'm not. When I make a video, I don't even care if the people watching it know I'm the one that made it. Seriously. I get more of a rush and satisfaction from watching people's reactions to my videos, than any "good job" can or will ever do. It truly moves me to watch how different people react to the images and sounds I create and put together in order to make a video. Whether it be humorous, or not, I just enjoy watching the human emotion take place.

So, today at the convention, my Autism video had just played, and there were a few people that were moved by it. However, it was a very short video, and it was most certainly not the video I was wanting to watch people watch. (With me still? Is this making sense?) At 4:15PM, the video I created for the PIU Jr, was to be played. Since last week when everyone at the corporate office watched it and said they loved it, I was eagerly awaiting the 300 people at the convention to watch it. I was extremely anxious.

Around 3:00 one of my co-workers came up to me and said "I can't call the office, or my extension, the phones are down I think". So I called the office myself, and sure enough the phones were down. "No big deal" I thought. I'll just go tell Andrew and we'll figure this out. Someone's at the office anyway. I walked over to Andrew (the other IT guy) and told him. About 15 minutes later he emerged from the secluded spot he went to and said "You need to go to the office and reset the phone system". (Mind you, we're in San Jose for the convention and our office is in Pleasanton). I sat there for a minute, thinking that there had to be some other way to fix the system. So I figured that since our receptionist was at the office and surely just as capable as me to flip a switch from off to on, I would call her before I went out there. No reason to waste a trip, if that was it, right?

As the current session ended and people started walking out for a break, I went up to another co worker and asked her for Esmerelda's (the receptionist) cell phone number. But before I could even get out my entire sentence, Andrew came running and yelling and said "I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE TO THE OFFICE. YOU NEED TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW". First of all, Andrew is not my boss. Second of all, I'm in IT as well, and I was trying to figure out the problem on a different path. So Gordon, the CEO, overheard Andrew and asked me what was going on. Guess who answered? Andrew. He said "The phones are down and I told Ricky he needs to leave right now. He needs to STOP TALKING TO PEOPLE and leave RIGHT NOW." So, being the semi-mature person I am, I just looked at Gordon and said "I'm on my way."

(Andrew didn't give me a chance to suggest any other solutions or means of fixing the problem other than his own suggestion. We weren't sure if Esmerelda had a key to the phone room, which definitely needed to be opened in order for the phone technician to come and fix the problem, but I was going to call her and see if she in fact did have a key, saving me a trip.)

I got to the office about a half hour after I left San Jose, and sure enough, Esmerelda did have a key to the phone room. And sure enough, she could have just as easily opened the phone room and reset the system. So I bit my tongue, opened the door and reset the system. But it didn't fix the phones, and we had to get our vendor to come out. Again, all of this was something that Esmerelda could have handled. That's exactly the reason we left her at the office this week while we were at the convention.

At 3:55 PM I jumped back in my car and started heading to San Jose again. I wanted to see my video. Badly. I knew they were running a little behind in the presentations, so I thought even if I'm 10 or 15 minutes later than 4:15, I might still be able to see it. As I was driving on 680, my gas light went on. There was no way I was going to be able to get 20 more miles with my gas light on. So I pulled over and put 10 dollars worth of gas in Fremont. As I'm pumping gas I hear on the radio that the Brokaw Road exit off of 880 (the exit I needed to take in order to get back to the convention) had a major injury accident, and the exit was blocked, causing traffic delays of up to a half an hour. So, I decided to hop back on 680 and go the alternate route. (Adding about 10 minutes to my trip) I got back on 680, and no less than a mile down the freeway, a truck carrying sand had spilled it's load all over the place. It was windy, and sand was flying everywhere. It was a sandstorm. Cars were dead stopped. It was at that point that I just laughed out loud to myself and said out lout "Seriously God? A sandstorm? Why are you doing this?"

By the time I got off the freeway, it was about 4:25, and I had about another 10 minutes to go in order to get to the convention. Now I know people say this next phrase a LOT, but I'm completely serious. I hit every single red light possible, on the way back to the convention. I was so angry I couldn't even get angry. Do you understand that level of frustration? I finally parked my car in the hotel parking lot around 4:35, and ran faster than I've ever ran in my life (which is about as fast a one-legged sloth) up to the hall where we are located for the convention. As soon as I climbed up the stairs, the doors opened, and people started exiting the hall. My video had been played. I missed it. I saw Andrew across the way. My first instinct was to go over to him and shove him against the wall and rip him to shreds. I felt like I could have defeated Mike Tyson in his prime. I was fuming.

But I took a deep breath and walked away. A co-worker of mine called me and asked if I had finally gotten there yet, and I told her yes. She apologized that I had missed my video, but assured me that it had a huge impact and people were moved by it. I told her "Thanks".

So now I'm sitting here a good 6 hours later, still upset about the situation, and more importantly trying to figure out just what in the hell God is trying to teach me through this? I really have no idea whatsoever. None. In the 6 months I've worked at PIU, the phone system has never done this. In the 29 years of my life, I've never seen a sandstorm on a freeway in the bay area. Not to mention the exact exit I needed to take on my original route was closed due to a wreck.

So if you have any thoughts or opinions on what I'm supposed to learn from all of this, please enlighten me. Bottom line for me is, that Andrew could have most certainly handled it differently. I never went up to him the rest of the night. I think he knows I'm pissed off at him. And, I'm okay with that.

Good night.
posted by Ricky @ 10:11 PM  
  • At 10/24/2006 05:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    sorry for your bad day. If it makes you feel better I will be pissed at Andrew for you too. He sounds like an asshole. Anyways, I think that God really did not want you to see people enjoying your video for some reason. So be it. Fin. Hasta. Aufwiederzen (?)

    Love, Stacey

  • At 10/24/2006 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    By the way, it bothers me that when there is one comment it says "1 comments". but there is 1 so it should not be plural. So I had to leave another comment to make it plural. There should be a way to fix that. Work on it, okay? thanks

  • At 10/24/2006 05:30:00 PM, Blogger Ricky said…

    it's still baffling, a day later. :( oh well, im over it now i think.

  • At 10/25/2006 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I liked your videos. They made me cherish my children and thank god that they are healthy. I sat next to you Monday night at Spencers. Thanks for the beverage.


  • At 8/19/2007 04:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I don't know if God had a lesson He wanted you to learn throughout this whole process. It certainly is an interesting story, that's for sure.

    But if God was trying to teach you something from these circumstances, this is my take on it: The one thing that stands out to me is that you exhibited emotional maturity in handling your anger throughout the whole event, which is hard to do. Of course you wanted to see the people's reactions to your video and when you couldn't, you were frustrated big time. But you never seemed to lash out at anyone or blame Andrew in front of your CEO. So, from my perspective, you exhibited godly character in this very frustrating situation. Maybe God was developing character IN YOU by putting up "roadblocks", both figurative and literal, between you and what you wanted. Maybe it didn't matter so much to God that you didn't get to see people's reactions to your video--maybe what mattered to God was to use this situation to develop more godly character in YOU--perhaps patience, perhaps being able to resist retaliating verbally, perhaps being able to keep from blaming the real culprit(even in front of the CEO). Those are my amateur guesses as to what God was teaching you.

    And here's another thought: when your kids become teenagers and they are struggling with anger issues, you can use this as a good example of how you overcame the urge to "go off" on Andrew and how someone can act appropriately, responsibly and under control in an emotionally-charged situation.

    Anyway, that's my take on it.

    God bless,

    Mike Stypula
    Your bro from Crossroads

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