An (almost) perfect triple day

15 Sep

I managed to accomplish three administrative things today, which, you may recall, is a really good day here. All three required me to visit an office:

  1. Renewed our Peruvian health insurance policy. Prices went up 20% in the last year, but I know, don’t even get you started… it’s still much cheaper here than in the US.
  2. Fixed our corporate address with SUNAT (tax agency) so our friend Steve won’t keep getting letters. It turns out this trip could have been avoided. I had tried 3 times previously online, but did not notice that there are in fact TWO confirmation screens. In the first one, the Accept button appears at the bottom of the screen, whereas on the second (why?), the buttons move to the very top. User experience fail. Kudos, however, to the friendly official who stepped me through the process right there in the office.
  3. Fixed my login with Claro (my cell carrier) so I can now see my account statement online. The problem was that when I signed up, the reseller entered my phone # as a DNI (Peruvian citizen) vs. carnet extranjería (foreign resident), so I simply needed to enter the wrong kind of identification, drop the first digit of my carnet #, and voilá, I was in! Perhaps I should offer my services as a user experience designer to these companies… this is a good thought, actually. I’ve seen quite a bit of evidence that the Web sites need a security audit also.

Thankfully, both SUNAT and Claro have offices in the mall across town which are much less busy than the ones close to us. There was a good sale on tennis shoes there, too, but Daniel (who has already had his current shoes repaired once) didn’t think they were made of strong enough material to withstand the streets and sidewalks here, so we’ll keep looking.

On a more philosophical note, the fact that I had to personally visit two offices to be shown the “gotchas” on their Web sites is indicative of a mentality which concerns me very greatly as a would-be employer. The education system is based on memorization / repetition, so there seems to be an expectation that users will have to be shown how to use the Web site as I was today and memorize the steps to complete every possible task. It’s about learning the magic sequence rather than making an intuitive user interface in the first place. My accountant seriously suggested that I read the 30-page manual to learn how to use the SUNAT Web site. I told her that’s why I pay her to do the filings. She laughed and laughed when I said that, almost as if she hadn’t considered that’s part of the reason people pay her!

Anyway, I really am glad to get these things taken care of. The lines were short across town, the customer service people were all very friendly and helpful, and they spoke a language I could understand (Spanish! As opposed to, say, English with a thick Indian accent). In between trips, Vicki and I once again enjoyed reading the Bible with our landlords and they were kind enough to lend us their ping pong table for a while. We disassembled it to get it up the narrow staircase and reassembled it on our office floor. It’s a really nice table and very kind of them. It takes up nearly the whole front room but folds up so we can move it down the hall when not in use. And what software development office is complete without a ping pong table?

Vicki made chocolate cake tonight. Anna tasted it first and started laughing. In the rush of things going on, Vicki forgot the sugar. Otherwise, the cake turned out better than any she’s made in Peru (it was moist and cooked evenly throughout–perhaps sugar is the culprit?). After a good laugh and copious application of whipped cream, we went to the park to play with Anna’s new volleyball. That lasted until Dad sent it flying backwards over the neighbor’s iron fence. Fortunately, it didn’t go over. Unfortunately, it landed right on a metal spike and began slowly deflating. This was already the replacement volleyball as the first was too hard and Anna is supposed to take her own ball to phys ed tomorrow for a volleyball test. So Dad was banished to the office to write this blog post.

5 Responses to “An (almost) perfect triple day”

  1. Gene Hynson September 15, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Awwwww no!!!!! This is TOO funny!!! …but rather sad too. Poor Anna. 😉

  2. georgiajammy September 16, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    Good post David! We always enjoy reading about your adventures! You write in such a way as to makenusnfeelike we’ve been right there with y’all. Happy volley ball shopping! 😬

    • georgiajammy September 16, 2014 at 5:57 am #

      Well my spelling leaves something to be desired – at least autocorrect only added ‘n’ so it’s not as bad as some mistakes I’ve seen! LOL

  3. Peter L September 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Good things come in threes, or so the saying goes. Apparently not in fours, though.

  4. michael CHANDLER September 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    I sometimes write a list of steps to quickly navigate a site. It saves time hunting through the tags and links that mislead you. I might make a good Peruvian. You have enough room in your office for a ping pong table? What space! Family rules: don’t led dad play with your volleyball. The rule in our family is: don’t let dad work on your plumbing. Karen can tell you all about it. May you have many more triple days!

    Love, Dad

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