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things happening

My grandmother stopped eating sometime about a week ago. She ate a bit yesterday, but she's refusing solid food, and only wants to take a little bit. Mom is, naturally, not doing well with this, but she does get help twice a week as the Hospice caretaker comes by and bathes and checks up on Grandma. She was assessed and, well, it'll probably be a week or two at most.

When she goes, they won't have a funeral; Grandma didn't want any kind of formal thing, just to have her ashes spread in the same area my Uncle Bob (her youngest son, second-youngest child) was scattered when he died in 1997.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to Mom and Mitch once this happens. Mom... has been only taking care of her mother for the last five years, and had to retire for financial reasons. She might go back to work, but might not.
I know Grandma's not going to leave them a huge inheritance; there isn't one. And, Grandma was basically paying the mortgage on that house they're in.

I got dragged (though willingly) into helping revise the way our church does things - we have a plethora of different membership lists, databases, accounting packages - and we're planning to standardize. One of the members is going to buy the software, but we have to get an idea of how it works, how it will work with what we do, what we do now, how we'll need to change it, and what we'll need to do in order to make it as completely simple and automatic as possible. I'll be coordinating the project - making sure people meet, that we discuss the relevant stuff, and that we are in agreement. But not selling anyone on anything. And the language of meetings and buy-in that I use is alien and disturbing to some of the people in the group, and I didn't even know it was jargon.

I _did_ end up promising to donate a computer to this project, if needed, and I think they might take me up on it.
Well, I _have_ been planning to build a new PC, maybe I'll do a practice, server version, and see what happens.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2006 09:59 am (UTC)
Yay, "Spousal Impoverishment Act". Fucking bastards in Congress.

And as for 'alien and disturbing language' -- remember that you're working for what is essentially a non-profit. The people you have there are not going to be people who will automatically know what you're talking about; they're going to be the users, the businessmen, the ones who workflow must be designed for. They're not MBAs, either -- they do what you do, and that's volunteer.

What software is the other member going to buy? (Remember that there's a double-entry bookkeeping system for Linux called gnucash, that's pretty much better in most ways than anything that Intuit or MS are offering. Its interface is web-based, so it can run on a back-end system and still present to lots of different people. It also uses a MySQL database, which might be useful for the membership lists and other databases you have. This is, of course, me promoting free software as much as I can.)
May. 11th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
Well, actually, Deacon Janice is a mid-level executive at PGE; Janet R. is a teacher and compulsive organizer who spends 45 hours a week working at the church on top of her 40 hour job, and I wonder when she SLEEPS, but she's computer-savvy; Sue V (I think) who I don't know well but who is buying the software is a retired businesswoman and may actually be an MBA - she was the one having terminology differences because she's thinking financial while I'm thinking cultural buy-in; Ken (?) T, the vestry representative, is also pretty sharp.

On the other hand, three other members of the team are minimally computer-savvy, with two of them completely baffled and mystified. They're in the team because they know how we do things currently.

The software we're getting is a church tools package, with specific expert packages incorporating the stuff churches need to do: membership list/contact management, calendar/scheduling package, payroll (we don't need), accounting (we do need), etc.
The thing that makes it special is that it's got a user interface designed to require absolute minimum skills to use the primary functions, and that it's got appropriate security, and it's compatible with (same package as) the systems used in our diocesan offices, and several other major parishes in our area.

I suggested free software at the outset, and was vetoed because we wouldn't be guaranteed to have someone to maintain it. I didn't think it worthwhile to argue the open-source thing at the time, since I had no desire to volunteer to maintain it myself. Somehow, I hear them nominating me to be the DBA anyway... NOT gonna happen. Our biggest problem is that we have stuff in the hands of one volunteer, in too many programs.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Steve Hutchison

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