Been a while, huh? What did I even write last? I remember starting several entries and never finishing them. Did manage to post a thing or two about the cutest granddaughter on the planet, but really, time has been tight.
Started a “year in review” post too. Here’s a bullet list of the highlights.
January – Cold. Working, driving to finish a project that has a jello-like requirements document.
February – Trip to Cancun. Trip from hell. Air travel delays, lost luggage, stolen property. Lost a day in Mexico and some valuable jewelry.
March – Notified I was being laid off, given 6 months notice.
April – start job search. Still working like a mad fool. I blame being in shock.
May – blank. Again, I blame shock.
June – Tour de Cure. Rode my 3rd Century (100+ miles in one day.) this year, teaming up with some friends gets us through the course in 5 hours, 53 minutes of actual “ass in the saddle” time. Time on course was closer to 7:30.
July – Eric & Kelly get married. IT was the hottest week of the summer – by far. 150 people absolutely swamped the cooling systems at both the church and reception hall. We muddled on.
August – 2 family reunions – both weekend long events. Cindy & I also marked our 30th wedding anniversary.
September – the 6th was my last day of work. 29.5 years of work in the same organization all done. Had several interviews for positions locally, but no solid leads as yet.
October – pick up contract work (12 months) with a local radio manufacturer. Pay is pitiful, no vacation, no holidays, no sick days, but the work environment is good.
November – Little Avery Jennine finally appears, making parents of Zach & Jill and new grandparents of Cindy & I. There were some minor difficulties along the way, but the little peanut came through it all just fin-e.
December – Talk about wheels of progress grinding slowly – a place I interviewed with in August wants to (finally) do a third interview. A week after the interview, they made an offer that beat the hell out of what I was making on that contract job. Put in my notice 12/23 that I’d be done 1/6. Due to start the new gig 1/16.
January - Left the contract position. Killed the week+ in between jobs by bolting off to Cancun again. This time we got caught for an extra day on the return leg. I managed to catch an ear infection (probably from snorkeling at Xelha), but in Mexico you can get antibiotics without a prescription! Hit up a local bodega for some ear drops and things weren’t too bad. Showed up for my 2nd ‘first day of work’ in 3 months and get to be “the new guy” aaaallllll over again.
And here I sit, kinda tired of reading IEC/EN/IECEE specs & regulations. My first real in the field training will be 1/24 & 1/26 where I learn to strike fear in the hearts of QA managers in local factories when I get to call them and announce that their semi-annual factory inspection is due – I’ll be there in 30 minutes.
Also need to get my ass to the gym. Haven’t been there in 6 months and it shows. My pants are a leetle too tight. Rather than buy new, bigger pants, I’ll re-introduce myself to sweating. Be nice to get ready for summer, this years Tour de Cure, maybe the Philly Livestrong ride, and tons of commuting to work.
For the record, my new place of employment is literally across the street from my gym. The new plan come spring is ride to the Y, get in cardio & weights, cool down & shower up, pedal very easy across the street and start the work day. For longer rides I’ll take the long way home instead of the very, very short (4 miles) direct route.
Will there be more & better blogging this year? I hope so. I’m trying this one from my new work laptop using Word’s direct link to WordPress. The new machine has all the spiffy new Windows 7 and Office 2010 tools. It’s taking some getting used to, but I’m starting to like it.
Better run- – more later. Really!
Miss Avery Jennine made her rather raucous appearance in the wee early hours of Nov. 20, 2011. Her initial stats were a healthy 7lb, 3oz and 20.5″ long.
She gave everyone a bit of a scare while nursing during the night. Jill noticed her lips & tongue turned blue. Little Avery was hustled into the “Special Care Nursery” (NICU) and put on oxygen boost in a little tent. Her oxygen sat numbers recovered nicely. She kept having episodes of low O2 Sat numbers, mostly while she was nursing. After a day or so and having run most every test known to man, everyone came to the conclusion that the problem was a combination of position and neck strength. With a little coaching the kids learned which positions were best for little Avery. It kinda came down to not letting her chin get pinched down to her chest. That helped keep her airway open and really resolved the low oxygen issue.
Jill was officially released from the hospital on Tuesday the 22nd. She and Zach stayed at the hospital the entire time, either crashing in a nursing room or grabbing the “family” room in the NICU. We did talk them into going home once or twice to grab a real shower, a fresh set of clothes and a real meal. We even got them out of the hospital long enough to have Thanksgiving dinner. You see, the NICU’s policy was that a baby had to have 72 consecutive hours free of any low oxygen issues before they would release her. Avery’s last episode was 4pm Monday, meaning she could be released 4pm Thanksgiving day. Along about 1pm the kids had a talk (by phone) with Avery’s doctor. In the conversation the doctor said that she was against doing any late in the day releases and the hospital was very firm about their 72 hour, no low oxygen rule. All that meant that Avery wouldn’t be released till Friday morning. Reading between the lines, it meant that the doctor wasn’t leaving her house and/or Thanksgiving dinner to come in and sign the release papers.
But. Friday did come; our little peanut did get released and is now home safe, sound and doing really well. So far she nurses like a champ, has a great appetite and pretty much only cries when she’s hungry or needs a little burping. I forgot just how tiny newborns really are. What’s really amazing is just how quickly they steal your heart.
Oh. You probably want pictures, huh?
Well, hell. Either WordPress isn’t letting me add pics to this post or I’m having some firewall issues. Imma try to add pics at home tonight. For now, just know that grand daughter #1 has landed. Pics at 11.
Oh. There was a product testing outfit I interviewed with back in August. They had an upper management shake-up and decided to hold off on filling the position. I was bummed because it would have been a lateral move pay wise, I knew all the guys in the lab, it was close to home & my gym, and it was a lateral move pay wise (did I mention that?)
Well, yesterday I got a call from the regional manager. Seems upper management is once again interested in filling the position and he’s interested in finishing the interview process we started 4 months ago.
For $12K a more a year, I have no problem giving my current employer 2 weeks notice. I’m here on contract, which means they view me as temporary. If I do get an offer from this interview, I’ll show my supervisor the offer and give him a chance to match it. The 2 week notice part will be implied, but I’ll make it official too, just to be clear. $12K, benefits, holiday pay & 4 weeks vacation? I think he’ll understand.
Going through all the requisite paperwork for starting a new job. Much different than it was 30 years ago. I-9? Not a road but a form complements of Homeland Security. Then there’s a background & credit check.
This afternoon I have a drug test. Anyone want to come over and help me cram for the test? Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I took anything for fun. Even the Vicodan when I had my shark bite was absolutely necessary – not recreational.
Anyhow. Paperwork complete, time to tile.
The interviews Friday morning went pretty well. Felt like I connected with the interviewers, passed all the technical tests. Even remembered what a Smith chart was & what it represented. (It’s a plot of reactance & resistance -vs- frequency. You all remember that from your college days, right?)
The interview session consisted of 4 back to back 45 minute segments. Each interview covered different areas, but there were areas of overlap. They finished with me at noon. As I left their facility and got my phone fired up, I learned that I was getting peppered with messages from another company for a local job. Glad I had my phone powered down.
Once I got home, I responded to the requests from this other outfit (Field Engineer job working on X-Ray equipment). Have a phone interview with them Monday afternoon. Decent paying, interesting job.
Late Friday afternoon I learned that the place I interviewed with that morning will be extending me an offer Monday. This should be good news. But. The position is for a 12 month contract, it pays 20% less than I had been making and there is no guarantee that I’d be extended or picked up permanent after the initial contract.
Once I heard about the pending offer, I contacted the recruiter at TUV (my favorite place) and filled her in on the situation. I told her about the pending offer, my preference to work for her outfit, and also asked her if she had any insight into how much longer this process may take.
My bottom line is this: I’ll accept the contract offer, AFTER I get a copy of the contract to read over. I need to see what the escape clauses are. Because I will keep pursuing these other two positions, hell, ANY other higher paying, direct hire positions. If & when one comes along, I’ll give my two weeks notice and jump ship. It rubs me the wrong way to do that, but the job market has turned mercenary. I need to look out for my own best interests. If this first outfit wants to avoid this kind of situation, they might want to consider direct hire rather than contract.
At any rate, my extended vacation looks to be over. I’ve got a week to pound out some progress on the damn bathroom (counters are coming in Wednesday!!) I’ve also got to re-learn how to get up at 6 or 6:30 and get my day started at a reasonable hour. Sorta unlike staying up typing an entry at 1:20am. So I’d better get off to bed and start practicing, eh?
What’s gone down;
Back seeing Annette (the therapist gal). Feel better for it.
TUV job situation is DRAGGING. I called the engineers inside that I know and asked them if they were still recruiting. I called the recruiter and asked if they were still recruiting and if the regional manager was really going to visit & interview. The technical folks have a meeting tomorrow morning and my contacts there will put a virtual foot in the managers ass and see if he moves.
I’m interviewing in person at a local, big deal electronics manufacturer. Down side? 12 month contract, less than stellar pay. Up side? My foot in the door.
Had a meeting today with a local outfit that focuses their efforts on getting veterans re-employed. Very good potential here, but again, the pay could be less than stellar. Still gotta beat unemployment “benefits”
Big, big news today too. As I was leaving the re-employment meeting today, I was wondering if Zach was free for lunch. I was up in his work’s neighborhood and he knows all the good places to eat. As it turns out, he wasn’t available because he was at the Ob/Gyn with Jill, checking up on grandkidlet #1.
The official report? Baby is about 5lb, 10oz at this point. Zach was born at 5-12, and he’s over 200 now, so I think this ones in keeper range. While at the doc’s, they also got a 3D ultra sound done. From this, they learned two very important things.
#1 – Grandkidlet #1 is most definitely of the female persuasion.
#2 – her portrait looks like this:
That is clearly the family nose she’s sporting there. We have generations of baby pictures from my side of the family and we ALL have that nose. Maybe all babies have that nose and it grows more individualized as they age. I dunno.
So that’s the good news. The bad news? I’m STILL working on the damn bathroom. Almost have the shower tiled. Floor is next. I took a bit of a diversion last weekend. The weather here was Gorgeous (with a capital G), so I did some outside work. I now have absolutely ZERO original, contractor grade windows in this house. I can feel my heating bill getting lower already. Replaced 5 windows this summer, that’s some major draftiness gone.
Well, gotta hit the hay. Contractor coming to measure for some glass in the morning and it’s already 1:20am here. That leaves me 6 hours of sleep and I HAVE to make the bed before I let this stranger in the house. (The way I sleep, it’s a 15 minute job making the bed.) I’m trying to re-vamp my routine, so I ought to be getting here more often. We shall see.
Starting to get the hang of being this “childless stay at home dad extraordinaire”. Today I get to go grocery shopping, then I have to hang some durock in the new bathroom shower. Busy, busy, busy!
Last night was our final evening for the golf league. We had a multi-tiered tournament (single, double & foursome) then headed to a nearby restaurant, The Dakota Grill and had our banquet. My partner John won the singles portion and the two of us won the doubles. Then John won season low net, I won for most bogeys in a round (8) and John won for something else. Each win netted us a sleeve of balls (3) that will surely get lost during play next season. It was a good banquet. Very irreverent bunch of guys, we all take turns taking pot shots at each other and have a ball the entire time.
Which will make the transition to tonight’s bowling league nearly seamless. Is that some good timing or what? I gotta go dig my bowling ball out from under the collection of bathroom supplies I have stored in the garage. I’m kinda worried that the reactive resin will have sweated out a bunch of lane oil and I’ll have to clean it up some. I’m thinking I might have to add some Soft Scrub to me shopping list. Love that stuff for degreasing & scuffing up my (bowling) balls.
The most important update of the day comes from an email I received last night right about the time I bogeyed the first hole (on in 2 and a 3 putt!) Horrible putting last night – there was a layer of sand sifted onto the greens and it affected the speed. Well, that and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that was blowing through. It was like playing in Scotland in the summer time – cold, blustery & a constant mist in the air.
ANYHOW! The email It was from the recruiter from TUV. The regional manager is headed out sometime in the next two weeks and wants to do another face to face interview. When I responded to the recruiter, I asked her how many candidates the manager was interviewing this trip. Looks like it’s only me.
So. It’s either A.) this whole process is going to take longer than I thought in that they’ll need more time to line up additional candidates or B.) if I don’t screw up the interview with the manager, I’m in. Guess which option I favor?
I gotta go it the grocery store. What do you need added to my list?
Day 2563 T – 4
Not to diminish what happened from the Outer Banks on up through Vermont, but the effects of Irene on Western NY were pretty mild. Worst we got out of the whole mess was some 30 mph breezes and a few downed branches. Downstate fared much worse, as I’m sure most of you have seen.
To put the distance from here to NYC in perspective – I live closer to Toronto, Ontario than I do NYC. If the border crossing were to go really, really smooth, I could drive to the Pantages theater in downtown Toronto in about 3 – 3.5 hours. A similar trip to the Barrymore theater in NYC would be around 7 hours.
3 days of actually having to show up at the old job. Fuckers are trying to keep me busy too. I have two boards in layout, two other assemblies to get straightened out and another schematic to wrap up and get sent to the layout house before I go. When the hell am I supposed to be doing my job search!?!?!
No word yet on the job at TUV. Also getting some interest in a job in a town about a 45 minute drive from home. We’ll see how that goes. Pay wise I’m sure it’s less than I’m making now. The job is in laying out circuit boards. I have no formal training there, but I have done quite a bit of board layout.
For the uninitiated, board layout involves placing components, routing traces, setting up power and ground sources, and doing other neat shit like calculating trace impedance for high speed communications (like that ethernet link that lets you read this drivel).
Fun job (shut up, it is too), but the 45 minute drive is a downer. Plus I’ve heard odd things about the guy that owns the company. Not good odd things either. Slave driver-ish, ridiculous demands kind of stuff. We’ll see. I’m thinking it’s better than unemployment at least.
Making progress on the bathroom too. Tonite we attempt to put in the shower pan. If it goes well, sweet. If it goes poorly, I’ll be cutting a hole in the powder room downstairs to gain a little access. I’m sure you’ll hear Cindy scream if that happens . . .
Remind me to tell you about the weird ant swarm I saw last week. There’s pictures even . . .
Something new to try out to keep my head in the game here . . .
It’s time for Joyce’s Wednesday Hodgepodge! Interesting questions this week. They’re not too deep but a lot of fun!
You know the drill…post the answers on your own blog, link up on Joyce‘s page and make new bloggy friends by perusing the links on her post.
Here we go…
1. What is something that bothers you if it’s not done perfectly?
Wrapping up extension cords or lengths of rope. Gotta be in a neat coil – no figure 8’s allowed. Makes it easier to unroll them next time you use them.
Also – dishwasher loading. Don’t put stuff in so it takes up the most space possible!
Yes, I am a wee bit anal.
2. Do you think a sixth sense exists? Explain.
It can’t be coincidence ALL the time. I do believe in some sort of ‘gut’ feeling. Whether people ferret it out from other external clues or it’s just a hunch, it’s right too often to ignore.
3. Do you say your goodbyes slowly, quickly, or not at all?
Sloooooowwwwly. It’s a curse famous trait from my mother’s mother’s side. Trying to work on it.
4. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being hot, hot, hot, what level of spice do you like in your food? What’s your favorite spicy dish?
I like my food to be at about a 12. In a restaurant, I’ll take the cover off the crushed red pepper shaker and shake some onto my pizza or pasta. I can drink Franks Red Hot by the glass (but why bother? It’s not hot at all.) Jalapenos are mild. What I really like are my homegrown, mesquite smoked habaneros. A tablespoon or two in a bow of chili is just about right. Wanna try some? Send me your address, I’ll mail you a sample. DO NOT sniff them – you will regret it.
5. What is one of your all-time favorite commercial jingles?
Where’s the beef!?!
Oh, wait, that’s not a jingle. How about “Plop plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!”
6. Plane, train, boat, or auto…what is your preferred means of travel?
I don’t mind traveling by car if I’m driving (you’re too slow and hang out behind things that block my view) but I like the immediacy of plane travel. Wake up on a February morning where it’s 10 degrees & snowing, by lunch time you can be sipping a Hurricane and enjoying a bowl of gumbo (wearing shorts!!) at Pat O’Briens in Nola. What’s not to like?
7. What is something you take for granted?
Used to be my job . . .
8. My Random Thought
Yes, I saw UP! What a great movie. I even got a little teary (ok – more than a little) in all the right spots.
Oh – on that TUV interview from last week – won’t know more for 2 – 3 weeks. Unfortunate because I’ll have tons of free time in just under two weeks now . . .
One odd event happened on our trip to Carlisle last week. It was early in the trip – we were maybe on the road for 40 minutes or so – when my phone rang. Now, in my truck, the phone is Bluetooth linked to the stereo (Ford Synch). So when the phone rings it interrupts what ever music was playing (bluetoothed in from my phone no less) and rings EXTREMELY shrilly, scaring the shit out of you. Assuming you have managed to maintain control of the vehicle, you can hit a button on the steering wheel to answer the phone.
Anyhow. Phone rang, Cindy might have peed a little, I steered us back into the right lane after recovering from the initial shock. On the phone was a dude from a recruiting agency that had gotten hold of an old, old resume of mine that was posted on Monster about 10 – 12 years ago. How it had my current cell phone number on it I’ll never know, but the email address was an ancient one. I told the guy he had an ancient resume, but I was still very interested in finding new employment. We did a bit of a phone interview right there on the spot (well, we covered 10 – 12 miles of I-390) and was to email me his contact info so I could forward him a current resume complete with references.
Nice thing abut this smart phone stuff was that I was able confirm receipt of that email about 5 minutes after we terminated the call. (Trust issue with recruiters? Why would you think that?) And no – getting an email on the phone doesn’t set off any klaxons or sirens in the truck. Thank heavens! And thanks to modern technology I was able to receive an important call when say 10 – 12 years ago (there are those numbers again!) I would have missed that opportunity. Or not. Talking on your cell phone wasn’t illegal in New York back then. (I was legal because I had a hands free set up. Thank you Ford!)
Got a call from another recruiter yesterday, but I don’t have high hopes for this particular job. They were looking for experience with very specific CAD packages. While I can use (am using? Was using?) CAD for everything this job entailed, I am using a couple of different programs. Nor much of a learning curve, but employers want you to hit the ground running. The other downside to this job? 45 minute drive in good weather. In the winter, when the lake squalls hit, it might be 2 hours. Wouldn’t want to do that for the next 15 years. Plus? It’s too far to ride my bike regularly.
I must be off. I hear a golf course calling my name . . .
One more reason why I’ll be glad to get the hell out of here – my supervisor is an ass. Want to know who I met today? My replacement. The poor, reckless project manager I am currently working with stumbled into introducing us today. My supervisor scheduled a meeting with me Friday (which I declined but offered up some time on Thursday, which HE declined and settled on Wednesday) where I presume he intended to fill me in on the details. Oops – he was only a week late. This is the bozo that supposedly went to bat for me in the ranking process earlier this year.
Now they want me to do the equivalent of the Vulcan mind meld with this guy so he can get up to speed on what I do. Good fucking luck. Fire me instead. I’ve had several people tell me they are impressed with how well I’m holding up given the circumstances. I tell those same people they can’t believe how incredibly bad my internal attitude is. The new guy – well hell, I can’t take it out on him, but he isn’t going to get a lot of help from me. I have 2 ½ weeks left to work. That’s a little more than one paycheck and a couple day of earned vacation (that I get paid for). They could walk me out tomorrow and it wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference.
On a lighter note, check out the disappearing car video:
Love the peoples reactions! So gullible.
Now. Here is an interesting list. It’s the top 100 banned or challenged books
Looking through this list, I’ve read these:
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey (actually saw the movie, didn’t read the book)
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
Some of these are childrens (or young adults) books fer crying out loud! The remainder makes a great list of books that I probably ought to try and read.
Now this list is a list of challenged classics. This particular version of the lost only includes titles for which the reason for the change of ban are known & published. You can see those reasons down below the list.
What I’ve managed to read off that list:
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
I wonder about the ones they didn’t list. Also think that the ones they did list that I haven’t read yet ought to be on that list of things I should read. Looks like I’ll have some free time coming up soon(ish)
Update on the TUV job is on hold. The recruiter I was dealing with has been out the last couple of days and hasn’t gotten me scheduled for that group screening. I’m trying to be earnest in asking for updates without becoming a pest. I’ve held off replying to her “I’ve been out” email so I can use that as an additional reminder Wednesday morning. This is a difficult balance to achieve. The job is critically important to me, but I don’t want to piss her off. Perhaps I’ll find a tactful way to mention that in my response. Any ideas?
Heck, it’s 4:15, only 15 minutes before my official end of the day. Guess I’ll post & scoot. What are they gonna do, fire me?
(Updated because I hit “Publish” instead of “Preview” and I apparently forgot how to add references to other schtuph! But it’s better now. I’m not, but my tags are.)
TUV interview went well – I was just chatting with their national recruiter. She’s only been with them for 6 months, so it was pretty easy to sound like I knew a bunch of stuff about safety specs. Next interview (hopefully Thursday of Friday) will be with their Northeast Region Tech specialist (or some such title – at least I know his name). He’s the guy I need to impress. If that interview goes well, he’ll come out here (he’s in Foxboro, Mass – I’m in Rottenchester) and we’ll do a face to face.
Wonder if I can use any of the guys in the local office as references? If it gets that far I’ll have to ask. It certainly couldn’t hurt – I’ve known one of them for 10+ years and have worked with 2 or 3 others in the past.
For the uninitiated, TUV is actually TUV Rheinland of North America. It’s a German outfit that performs safety testing if new products. The job is for the local office which is about 4 miles from my house and literally across the road from the YMCA I go to. Talking to the recruiter, it sounded like they weren’t getting many applications from local folks. Just have to wait & see. The best news is that the salary range for this job will keep my in the life style to which I have become accustomed. It’s literally within a couple thousand a year of what I’m getting today.
The job could be fun. We get paid to blow shit up. Well, on the good days. On the so-so days, we get paid to investigate a products safety, stress it a little bit and offer feedback to the client on how to make their product safer for the end user. Not all bad. No relocation, no pay cut, I already know some of the guys in the office AND they have free coffee in the office!! That fancy (but not always so great) Keurig single cup stuff. (Jitters is right across the road too – next to the Y)
Golf last night was decent. I didn’t shoot great, but I must have displaced a really horrible score from my handicap calculations. Team wise we’re doing really well. June 30th we were in 11th place (out of 12) with a combined handicap of 33. After last night we’re in 6th place with a combined handicap of 24 (that’s MUCH better) 182.5 points (in 15 weeks), and only 4 points out of 2nd. First place is out of reach I think. Plus, we’re in a playoff format that has us playing the middle 4 teams for the next couple of weeks – kind of hard to move up that way.
In news relating to the reasons why I started this blog thing, I am steadily approaching 7 years free of smoking. When that day comes, I’ll have a nice summary of stats. The numbers are a little mind boggling.
In other news related to the origins of this blog thingy – I am watching a slow but steady increase in someone’s recreational drinking. This past weekend at the family reunion I think she had a of two glasses of wine – performing well in public. At home? Not so much.
Last week during golf I got a text about picking up bray’s on my way home. Since we had mentioned bratwurst for dinner earlier in the week, I assumed “bray’s” was a typo for “brat’s”. I stopped at the grocery store and got brats & rolls on my way home. Oops. Turn out “bray’s” was a worserer typo for “Arby’s”, so when I rolled in with brats I got the big “WTF?” look. Dinner was still delicious.
Last night, I got another text inquiring as to my dinner desires. That meant Cindy wasn’t fit to cook anything on the stove, if you know what I mean. I suggested Applebees or Arby’s. I got back a correctly spelled “Arby’s”. In jest, I responded that since she spelled it correctly, she’d be rewarded. When she asked what the reward was, I responded “dinner from Arby’s” which didn’t really impress her. So I then suggested a little nooky in the hot tub when I got home. Her response to that was surprisingly positive. So then I was thinking that dinner may be delayed a bit while we spend some quality time in the hot tub before we dive into our Arby’s sammiches.
But. (You knew it was coming right?) A certain someone’s sobriety level, or lack there of, kind of put the salt in the peter and any anticipation that built up was drowned in a puddle of ethanol. Sadly, this is happening more frequently lately. Feeling that I’m in a bit of a precarious position, I’m keeping my mouth shut until the job situation is resolved. Once I have those feet firmly on the ground again, I’ll offer my opinion on the drinking situation again and re-establish some boundaries. Ought to be a blast.
Back from Clan gathering #2 this year. Had a fine, fun time as is always the case with this crew. Hot & muggy during the day, cool & sometimes rainy at night.
We were again camping out in the yard. Temperature wise it was wonderful weather for sleeping outdoors. The first night I got up around 2 or 3 or something (it was dark, the stars were gorgeous) and stepped outside thee tent to pee. Found the third tree on the left and did my business. Walked back to the tent and as I bent to get in the door, I heard leaves rustling off to my right – up the hill and just inside the woods. It’s a good thing I just peed or I may have wet my pants. I’m sticking with believing it was a deer making it’s way through the woods not too far from me. I’d rather not ponder the possibilities that it was a bear. They are definitely in the area, but they have more sense than to hang out around a bunch of rowdy humans, right?
The cousins finally mounted the buck skull they found during the weekend of Zach & Jill’s wedding two years ago. Here’s what happens when you let ants, beetles & other little beasties clean the skull for you:
Saturday morning we al headed into Arlington, Vermont for their weekly Saturday tag sale extravaganza. Every Saturday the whole town turns into a giant flea market. If you know where to look you can run into some excellent deals. All I ran into was another head scratcher. See what I mean:
So if a “Yard Sale” is inside, what is it, really?
Off to do more job apps. The one place I interviewed with a couple weeks ago responded sooner than they said they would. Due to economic conditions, they are not filling the position I was hoping for. Better to know now than 6 months after starting. I guess.
With that, I’m signing off. Got to go catch up with all my reads after a few days away . . .
This place looks familiar – kinda like I’ve been here before. Have I posted stuff here in the not too distant past? Seems like it. May as well try again, eh?
So yeah, we’re all suffering a bit from the post wedding let down. All that built up excitement & anticipation and now it’s all over. I’ll tell you what’s weird though – seeing Kelly’s new name. We are, of course, Facebook friends and I see her updates pretty regularly. I am STILL not used to seeing Kelly “mylastname” in print. I’m sure it will become as normal as seeing Jill “mylastname” is now.
Taking bets on a few things now too.
1 – How long before Kelly is preggers (preggers IS TO a word. Now. I added it to my spell check. You can too!)
2 – How many of their kids will be red heads.
3 – How long till She hooks up with a nursing job.
My guesses? Job – less than a month. Preggers – couple years. Red heads – 1 of 2, or 2 of 3 – depends on how many little bundles of joy they decide on. My mom’s side is peppered with red heads, but my generation has none. Come to think of it, none of my generations kids are red heads either. Kelly comes from a long line of red heads so oif Eric has the least little bit of recessive red head in him, it ought to come through.
Enough about the kids!
Golf last Wednesday. My partner couldn’t make it, so I had to tackle the other team all on my own. I ended up walking 9 holes in 90 degree heat. It happened to be my partners turn to get the cart and I didn’t know he was going to be a no show until 10 minutes before tee time. My fault – he left a message on my work voice mail, I just wasn’t in the office all day.
Anyhow. No partner, no cart. I kicked me some booty. Beat my opponent on 7 holes, tied one and lost the very last hole. So I earned 7.5 out of 9 points. My partner, using his worst outing of the year as a default score even managed to take 2 points and as a team we took another 5 points. So a one manned team took 14.5 out of 27 points from a two man team. I managed to shoot my best round of the year by a wide margin. Had the low net sore for the week and now hold the league record for bogeys in a round with 7. Three or four of those were nearly pars – I had several putts and one chip miss by two inches or less. Matter of fact – the mot bizarre (and best) hole of the day involved a drive than went MAYBE 40 yards (it hit a tree 100 yards out and bounced back), a recovery/positioning shot that covered 180 yards, a shot to lay up short of a creek that travelled 145 yards, than a lovely 75 yard wedge shot that hit short of the pin, bounced past it, did a U-turn and dropped in the cu for a birdie. (For you non-golfers – that’s fuckin’ amazing!)
Saw my partners truck in the parking lot at work today. That in itself is a good thing, but I didn’t get a chance to see him and see how he’s doing. The condition that kept him from golfing last week might not be healed enough to allow him to golf this week. How long does it take to resolve bleeding ‘roids? (Man, this getting old shit ain’t for the faint hearted, is it?)
Bathroom? Coming along. Spent the weekend mudding the walls. First coat took 4 gallons. Now I have a new gardening bucket. Started the second coat on all the flat joints and they look pretty good. Tuesday night I’ll do the corners and Thursday I’ll either set the shower pan or do a light sanding on the drywall joints. Depends on how lucky I feel.
Slow goings on the job front since I interviewed last Tuesday. Have one more decent local lead to follow up on, and then I’m thinking it’s head hunter time. Might give up a percentage of my pay for a while to cover their fee, but it would beat the hell out of unemployment. I’ll have some time to work on it Tuesday too. Company is having their annual summer picnic from 11:30 till whenever. All things considered, I’m calling it an afternoon off. What are they gonna do, fire me? Oh wait – they did. Screw ‘em then.
Have a meme thingie to share for tomorrow. Might be interesting.
Yep! Only 11 days till Eric & Kelly officially tie the knot. I think all our deliverables are in place:
Rehearsal dinner reservations made & menu selected.
Tux rented (I know, I know, pictures.)
Dress selected & altered.
Hotel reservations made, because the parents of the bride and/or groom should NOT be driving for a minimum of 18 hours after the pre-reception cocktail hour.
Due to some odd assed logistics, we’ll also have both our vehicles there. The Friday before the festivities, the Best Man (that’d be Zach) wants all the men of the wedding party to gather for the “Bachelor Party”. What are we going to do? Get in a round of golf. They want to start around 9, get in our 18 holes and have time to freshen up before the rehearsal (at like 5??) That’s all well & good, but technically we can’t check in to our hotel until 3pm or so. And Cindy REALLY doesn’t want to spend all day hanging out in Syracuse killing time until the rehearsal starts. So? I’ll head out at 7am-ish, meet the guys at the golf course and Cindy will follow along after lunch.
Now I gotta confess, I kinda screwed up last week. Cindy had mentioned how she wanted to get a ring for our 30th anniversary next month. He even pretty much had the setting & stones al picked out in her mind – a single diamond surrounded by 3 red sapphires (or rubies maybe?). Sort of a replacement for the ring she got from her mom that was stolen on our trip to Mexico in February. When I heard that, I piped up and said “Well maybe I’ll buy myself a new set of irons for our 30th”, which she said, OUT LOUD, sounded like a good idea.
Well dummy me got the idea in my head that I was getting new clubs. I started cruising E-Bay, researched iron sets on-line and sought out opinions from fellow golfers. Pretty much had my mind made up what I wanted to get (Adams Idea A7 irons, 3H, 4H, 5 – PW). Much to my surprise and pleasure, I saw a set on sale at a local sporting goods store. Having done the research, I knew the price was indeed a good deal.
Here’s where I stepped on it. I went to the store, tested out a few of the clubs in the set and bought them on the spot. Impulse buy? Sorta. But I researched the crap out of it, knew a good price when I saw one and jumped on it. My mistake? Not clearing it with Cindy first. She found out through the kids. This past Saturday they said “Hey dad, lets see those new clubs you got” and Cindy replied, “Yeah, dad’s thinking about getting himself a new set for our anniversary” to which I responded, “Already did.”
Do you have any idea how dead I was when I said that?
Now, my commission for being executor of my father-in-law’s estate is sitting in the bank, earning a whopping 0.5% interest. That’s MY money, for me to do with as I please. When Cindy asked how I thought I was going to pay for said clubs I told her I was taking it out of my executor’s commission. (For the record, my commission was over 4 figures, but not so high into 5 figures that it’s going to cause any real damage tax-wise. Especially if I don’t find a job soon . . .)
So getting a good deal on a bargain set of clubs is going to do diddly squat to that account balance. The ring Cindy wants? Probably cost 4 – 5 times what those clubs cost. And she can STILL get the ring because percentage wise that will have less of an effect on what she inherited from her dad.
I need to find a way to apologize. I don’t thin it’s totally a money issue – I think it’s more that I ruined any sense of surprise or any sense that she was ‘giving’ me anything. She’s pissed. I don’t know if she’s right, I was certainly wrong, and I don’t know how to make it better.
I avoided getting into the whole “well, YOU did XXX and then you did YYY . . .” as a way of justifying my own actions. But I’m still bothered that Cindy expects behaviors out of others that she doesn’t always do herself. She also doesn’t treat other people the way she expects to be treated. I don’t know how to fold those points into the current situation – and maybe I shouldn’t. But they need to be resolved. Yes, she thinks I haven’t changed, but I have news for her – neither has she. Al in spite of hundreds if not thousands spent in counseling.
Don’t mind me. I’m jut bummed about the whole job search deal. Age discrimination is illegal, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to me several times a day. Fuckers.
Did I tell you about our fiasco in switching our house land line from our original carrier over to our wireless carrier? And how our DSL service got knocked out in collateral damage? We’ve been trying to get our DSL back, but DSL only packages are riDICKulously expensive.
The tech guy was out today to explain all this crap to Cindy. (a full week after we originally lost our DSL). Well, tomorrow, MAYBE, we’ll re-join the civilized world, can our wireless carrier for the land line, get a new to us phone number for our old fashioned land line and still save $40 a month.
When the wireless carrier tries to bill us for early termination we’ll just tell them to eat it because of how they royally effed up our internet service. Don’t know what that will do to our cell phone plan, but we’ll have to risk it.
So, these last two days at work? Pounding the job applications out. Six yesterday, 12 today. One local job flipped me out. The contact person for the job is a guy I went to college with for my Associates degree way back in the last century (1982 actually). No way I am confusing this guy with someone else – he has a VERY unique name.
There were only something like 12 of us in the program back then. I am hoping that seeing our school name and graduation date will fire off a few memory cells and it will hopefully work in my favor. I had a higher GPA than he did though – hope that doesn’t work against me. Maybe he forgot that little detail over the past 29 years.
One thing (of many, many things) I really dislike about current job search protocols & techniques is when the application asks you what your salary expectations are for a given position. I will usually try to answer something like “fair and reasonable for the position and geographic area”. Unfortunately many sites are set up to accept only a numeric response to that question. From what I’ve learned, one is NOT supposed to mention salary so early in the process. Some places even advise that the first person to mention a number is in a weaker position.
I know what I make now. I can look up what houses comparable to mine cost and gauge the cost of living in a given area. But what if the number I guess for salary is too far out of line with what a company is prepared to offer? How can this NOT turn into a bidding war? Three people with similar experience aren’t equal if one of them guesses $10K lower on the pay scale.
Then there’s the another facet. That job I interviewed for locally (well, in Penn Yan, 58 miles away “local”). Great job, right in my wheelhouse, I could have been up & running at that job in a few weeks. Problem is it only paid $28K less than I’m making now They didn’t make me an offer because their pay scale was so out of whack with the rest of the state (and they admitted that and said they were working on correcting their wage scales)
The way things are going right now, if they make me that offer 8 weeks from now, I’d take it. I’m keeping them on my radar screen. And I hope one of the dozen and a half apps I’ve put out in the last two days hits a compatible recruiter.
16 days till The Wedding V.2!! Eric is getting all anxious & hyper. It’s kinda funny. I have my tux, Cindy has her dress (finally!), hotel and rehearsal dinner reservations are made. I think the wedding party guys, including the dads, are going on a golf outing the day before (7/22). That’ll be a blast. And yes, I’ll have pictures of the festivities to share once I recover from the festivities.
Now I have to go and clear out 160-some odd emails that have been piling up thanks to our little internet snafu. dammit.
Wish something would shake loose in the job search. Put out 15 resume in the last 3 days and haven’t heard word one from any of the respective HR departments. I plan on doing 5 a day from here on out. Might have to get all CSI on them and track down phone numbers to call too. I understand that the HR departments are busy, but the lack of feedback is unsettling.
My chief complaint is really that my soon to be non-job has me so busy that I have no time to conduct any real job search business during the day. If I was so freakin unnecessary, how do I get to be so busy?
Cindy got herself all self medicated Sunday afternoon/evening. Yesterday she was sulky all day because I really, really cut back on how I interact with her when she’s been drinking. I’ve told this to her face (when she’s sober), I behave consistently when it happens, so she KNOWS that if she drinks I withdraw.
Nevertheless, she drinks, I withdraw, next day she’s all pouty like I did something wrong and she’s punishing me.
There’s a topic for discussion – without a therapist in the room. Hmmm, what am I doing tonight (besides finishing this report I really need to get back to . . .)
Day 2461 .
This week has kicked my ass for no particular reason. I am SO gad that today is my Friday. We’re taking delivery of the tub for the bathroom project tomorrow. Truck will be here sometime between 10 and 2. I hope arrives on the early end of the time slot, then I can get out for a bike ride if the freakin rain ever stops. As it turns out, I could have ridden to work Wednesday, but plans for the evening squashed that. Weird, I know – golf got cancelled so you’d think the weather would suck for biking. Unfortunately, golf courses take days to dry out, roads take mere hours.
I should take the time to figure out why this week has seemed so strenuous. Good little inventory exercise. I am also doing one on what it is I fear about considering separating form Cindy. Not that I’m considering taking that step, but I need to understand just what about it gives me the willies.
Have a new plan of attack for the job search & acquire mission. Rather than solely rely on on-line job sites to churn out likely suspects, I am broadening my “willing to re-locate” zone to pretty much the eastern seaboard south of NY. I am listing cities within each state and looking up newspapers in those cities. I will then search through those cities classifieds for jobs with potential. My aim is to start churning out 5 – 7 applications a day.
Last but not least – Saturday is reckoned to by Judgment Day by a few religious organizations. So I’m just wondering – when I wake up on Sunday, just how do I determine if I’m in Heaven or Hell? If, as I suspect, I am in neither Heaven nor Hell come Sunday, how soon can I expect those religious zealots warning me about the coming end of days to shut the heck up?
Silly question, I know. If the religious zealots disappear, I’m in heaven. If they’re still on the street corner pimping the end of days, I’m in hell.
If it isn’t raining in an hour, I’m sneaking out early so I can ride to the Y for spin class. Yes – it makes total sense.
It’s not like this doorway was a portal to Dante’s 3rd level or anything, but it was easily the most difficult and trying door installation I have ever done. It was also the smallest and lightest door unit I’ve installed in quite some time.
In the new master bath I’m doing, I had the bright idea of knocking the corner off the room and putting the doorway into the bath the 45O wall. Genius move. Eased the corner, made the bedroom appear larger and didn’t cost much in the bath area space wise.
I figured out how to frame the funky 135O corners and had the layout down to the point where I even knew <i>where</i> the walls & corners had to go. I got the old closet wall tore out & new wall put in Friday, built the beveled wall with the door frame and put that in Saturday. Had to do some long mitered rips on 2×4’s in order to create studs to have something to attach drywall to. Those cuts were tough. My table saw doesn’t have that large a table and holding 8’ long pieces of wood straight, level & square AND guiding it into the saw? Quite a challenge.
Anyhow. Got the wall in, hauled the door & frame upstairs and did a rough check for fit. Things seemed big enough, there would be shimming required but that’s pretty normal for doors.
Sunday morning I started to putz with the door some more. I think the wood in the door frame warped & twisted overnight. There was no way I could get the door to fit plumb & square. I ended up ripping the hinge side of the frame apart and re-built it with old wood. I used old wood with the expectation that it was done drying out and what ever warp/twist/wane was in it would stay. Even after re-squaring the frame, it took about 1.5 hours to finally get the door set in place. It could be that trying to watch the Sabre’s game and installing a door simultaneously was a bad choice in multitasking chores. I’m happy to say that my door turned out better than the Sabre’s efforts though.
Now with that door in, I can drywall the complete exterior of the bath and hopefully contain the worst of the mess. Next up is building the interior walls and getting the electric run.
No real news on the job front. Head from a head hunter down in Harrisburg, sent him some vitals. Also sent a thank you note to the interviewer from that Pittsburgh job. I am trying to compile of reasonable questions I might ask him, just to be sure my name stays on his radar screen. I think that’s a job I’d really, really enjoy. Hate to lose out on it.
Next weekend we get to head to Syracuse & help Eric move. With the wedding not too far off and his lease up for renewal, he & Kelly decided to get a bigger apartment. They’ll be moving into a 2 bedroom unit – IN THE SAME BUILDING AS HIS CURRENT APARTMENT. This <i>could</i> be the best move ever! We have to move him from the third floor down to the first. The bad part? No work gets done on the bathroom next Sunday and meetings prevent me from taking the day off Friday. Maybe take ½ a day? Decisions, decisions.
Oh! Here’s a shot of what the bathroom plans look like:
(Click to embiggen!)
This doesn’t show the existing windows. One is entered on the south (bottom) wall, one is in the lower end of the west (left) wall and a third is on the top end of the west wall. Combined with the dual windows on the south wall in the bathroom, we have really nice air flow & light.
One way or another, this may be my last big project. If we end up staying here, the inside of the house is done. All that needs doing is the roof. If we move, we’re buying new and getting it done how we want. I’ve look at existing stuff on the market in a few areas. For the most part, it’s kind of depressing to think about all the work that would have to be done to get any of them re-configured to how we like. At the tender age of 52, I’m kind of done with that shit. I just want to go ride my bike. Yes, I am channeling that Queen album right now.
Gotta go mourn my USB hub design. Too *#^$ slow. Back to the drawing board.
Please excuse the gruesome title. I’m only referring to a brief description of the Pittsburgh job interview after-party.
I thought the interview went well. I had prepared a few notes for myself on things to avoid (sarcasm, one-liners, filers like ‘uh’, ‘ah’, ‘umm’), questions I wanted to ask and answers to questions I thought the interviewer might ask. I am happy to say I was surprised by nothing, thught I built up a good rapport with the interviewer (but that may be in HIS skill set too).
The job is to repair and maintain radiation oncology equipment at 19 different sites in and around Pittsburgh (henceforth and forever more known as Pbrg). Initially the job would start out on day shift while the newbie goes through OJT and formal training in the manufacturer’s class room. (A week in Vegas to learn all about Varian detectors!! I just have to avoid showing up on an episode of CSI!! Training on FUJI generators? A week in California? Such a shame!)
One good thing was that UPMC realizes that they’d have to train anyone they hired – this is a VERY specialized job. The better part is that I already have a pretty thorough understanding of a lot of the equipment. I don’t know it to the point where I could repair it, yet, but I have a leg up on much of the competition.
The interviewer left me with the impression that I was a strong contender to be invited down to Pbrg for a secondary interview and some site visits.
The job title is Radiology Engineer, but the minimum education requirements were only an AAS degree. It just so happens that my AAS is in Biomedical Engineering and I have 20+ years experience with X-ray film processors (Lotsa A/C power to deal with) medical laser printers and film-less scanners & detectors. While UPMC does not use much, if any, gear from my present employer (I silently did NOT shed a tear over that) I’m hoping that my background is extensive enough to sway the decision my way.
And? They offer relocation assistance. Even if they just paid for the movers, that would be a huge help.
I’m a little regretful that this Pbrg job was the first to show any real potential. I kind of wish that some spots here in Rottenchester would have popped up first so I’d at least have a basis for comparison. Because frankly? Besides being extremely excited by the possibility of starting a new career in a new city, I’m also scared shitless. I know NOBODY in Pbrg. Well, except the interviewer and good ol’ Mom-on-Roof (who is over due for a “WTF you doing girl?” email) and she’s not even “in” Pbrg.
That’s all the awfulizing (tm – Roxie) I’m going to do on that subject. Interview went well, prospects look good, moving is a scary thought.
What didn’t go well yesterday? Rode the ol’ bike in to work. Felt slow & sluggish. Rode to the 5:15 spin class at the Y. Took a new route that carved nearly a half mile off the ride and it use much more scenic roads. Spin class went well enough. Ended up sitting next to a guy that, well, we’re sort of nodding acquaintances, having seen each other in spin many times. It was good to sit next to a guy that was at a similar fitness level. We seemed to be fairly well matched and managed to push each other a bit. I think. Maybe he was just being nice and let me think I could keep up with him. Then there was the ride home. Funny how you never notice a tail wind but you’re ALWAYS aware of a head wind.
The last thing in the not going well department would be Cindy’s condition during and after the interview. She kept quiet and out of the way during the interview itself, (in the hot tub), but had been drinking before, during and after. She was asking questions, trying to ascertain how the interview went. Unfortunately, she was (more than) drunk enough that she really only asked the same 3 questions over and over, maybe hoping that I’d change my answer. When I started responding “asked & answered, next question” she finally gave up.
After getting in 20+ miles of biking and another hour of spinning, my legs are appropriately whipped today. What’s on tap for tomorrow? My niece is moving in to her new-to-her house. We have to be at her place outside of Buffalo at 9am for the moving festivities. There’s a 90% chance of an all day soaker in the rain category. I can’t wait. I need to find all the clean tarps & plastic sheeting I can tonight.
Oh – “we” would be the moving crew. It includes her dad (lefty) and both NY based uncles (basically our bowling team), our spouses and hopefully what ever young, strong beefy male friends Lizzie can dig up. This is the ONE TIME I hope she has tons of male friends. Any other time, I might have to kick their collective asses.
Time to go rest up!
One Word answers ONLY……
1) Where is your cell phone? pocket (It’s on vibrate. CALL ME!!!)
2) Your hair? thinning
3) Your mother? Jehovah
4) Your father? missed
5) Your favorite thing? competition
6) Your dream last night? moving
7) Your favorite drink? Milk (or porter)
8) Your dream / goal? happiness
9) What room are you in? cubicle
10) Your hobby? biking
11) Your biggest fear? failure
12)Where were you last night? YMCA
13) Something that you’re not? Type A
14) Muffins? cornbread
15) Wish list item? job
16) Last thing you did? lunch
17) What are you wearing? polo
18) Friends? real
19) Your mood? frazzled
20) Drinking? Milk
21) Your car? truck
22) Something you’re not wearing? spandex
23) Your favorite home goods store? HD
24) Your Favorite Color? Auburn
25) Your favorite place to eat? home
26) Favorite place I would like to be right now? Nawlins
Man, some of those feel like they need explaining, like #3. My mom is a Jehovah’s Witness, not that she IS Jehovah. Cuz that would make me Jesus or something and we know THAT isn’t true!! Considering my strong agnosticism, her being in that cult of Jehoovers Witlesses can create some interesting situations.
#1 – seriously? I’ll pass out my number only if you PROMISE to not be a stalker.
#2 – hair – could have been graying, thinning, too damn long,
#10 – I only mentioned biking because I biked in to work this morning. 8.23 miles in 27:28. I had to dismount and move parts of a downed poplar tree off the canal path at one point. Does that make me a logger too?
#15 – Yeah, I’m wishing for a job. I have a phone interview tonight for a position as a Radiology Engineer in Pittsburgh, another one tomorrow for an SMT Manufacturing Engineer position in Harrisburg and a real live in person interview next week in a town about an hour away for another Manuf. Engr. position. Wish something closer would turn up. Maybe it will after I get all my practice interviews in.
#20 – Had milk for lunch. A nice glass of cold, cold, cold skim milk is my preferred drink at almost every meal. And I’m STILL deficient in vitamin D, even with drinking nearly 2 gallons of milk a week.
#22 – Check me out around 4:30 though. I’ll be sporting a lovely pair of spandex biking pants. They make my thighs look muscular. No – I’m not going to post a picture. But on 38 degree mornings they make a huge difference in comfort – like my quads don’t have hypothermia.
#25 – Eating at home is economical, cooking is somewhat of a hobby and oftentimes what is cooked at home is better nutritionally than a lot of restaurant fare. (Sodium & saturated fats – I’m looking at you!)
This phone interview tonight is going to be interesting. It’s going to be a test of wills too. Cindy is anxious about it and wants to do nothing but talk about it. I’m anxious about it and want to have no part in talking about it anymore. Cindy & I did talk about it, discussed potential questions, potential answers, potential concerns. I talked about it with Janine too covering much the same ground. Now, I want to retreat and review things in my head. Quietly. I will be glad to listen to new material, but I detest hashing the same shit over and over. Cindy loves to go over the same ground repeatedly. After the 85 repetition I’ll finally change my answer to see if she’s paying attention. Often? She’s not.
What else? Hmmph. Not much I guess. Might as well get back to this job I’m learning to dislike.
Day 2425 The Best Planned Lays . . .
But first, Micro-fiction Muse #2, hosted & carried on by Diane (Trouble maker!!)
No body treated his friends that way and got away with it. There was hell to be paid and the scum that hurt her was about to settle up.
Now go read this guys REAL story here. I’ll wait.
Amazing story, wasn’t it? What? You didn’t go read it? Do it. Now. It’s brief. Go. I’ll wait.
Now. Abut that title. That’s “best laid plans” you say? Ever hear of the Reverend Spooner? He was an actual preacher that had the unfortunate habit of randomly swapping the first syllables of words. Perhaps it was an early undiagnosed form of dyslexia. Anyhow, these little mixed up phrases came to be called “Spoonerisms. So you see, the ‘planned lays’ and ‘laid plans’ swap is an old literary tool used since at least the 1800’s. Even Grandpa on the old Hee Haw show used to use them. (Boy, is that dating me or what? Call BR-549)
I had planned to ride my bike in to work today (Wednesday). Yesterday morning those plans got changed. I need to be in beautiful downtown Rochester this afternoon at 4pm to wrap up the paperwork for Bob’s estate. A whole year & 2 months after he passed away, we finally get his estate settled. I dragged my feet on some of it, the lawyers were tied up on other matters for some of it, but it all gets wrapped up this week.
And? Considering my pending job status, the question of whether or not I should take my commission has been answered. After taxes, this commission will buy me several things. A few months buffer on unemployment, moving expenses, or a new roof if I land a job here in town and we end up not moving. And that’s just my commission.
I have to admit, the prospect of moving anywhere, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas – where ever – is both exciting and dreadful. What upsets me most is the thought of having to give up the house & property I’ve put so much of myself into the past 18 years. It really makes me wonder about why we put so much time & effort and money into changing a place, knowing that it’s all temporary. Is it really that important?
Gotta get back on track here. So. Riding plans derailed by a lawyer’s appointment. Missing out on the riding sucks. Missing out on riding in the rain sucks a whole lot less. While I would have been pedaling this morning it poured. 48 degrees and pouring down rain is NOT conducive to good health for the rider or his bike. So I ought to thank the lawyer for talking me in off my bike today. But tomorrow? Fair game baby – time to ride.
I’m trying to get that phone interview for the Pittsburgh job set up for tonight or tomorrow night. Still haven’t heard back from the interviewer yet. I hesitate to call him lest he try to start the interview on the spot. I could wriggle out of it, but how would that look? I can easily see that EVERYTHING is a test in this situation. Hmmm. Maybe I SHOULD call anyhow? Tonight, after work, but before my declared ‘free time’. When I’m on the road maybe – I can even call legally by New York standards and show how well I wedge things into my schedule.
I need to steer my 1 on 1 sessions with Janine in a different direction. We’ve been focused on the job search lately. That’s been a worthwhile endeavor, but it isn’t servicing our primary aim – fixing the relationship. That is becoming increasingly complicated. There are at least 3 possible outcomes and an unlimited number of paths with which to get to these places. I’ve made the conscious decision to only act on what I know right now. There are soooo many ‘what if’s’ hanging out there that I could awfulize on them forever. But I am choosing to behave according to what I know to be true. I AM keeping an eye toward the future and what may be, but I’m not going to stop doing something now ‘in case we have to move’ 6 months from now. That will lead to paralysis.
How is it I can’t stay on track today? Need to steer counseling sessions back to relationship repair. Case in point – last nights continuation of the Tuesday night drunk. It’s up to 5 or 6 weeks running now. We do counseling Tuesday night. Cindy is done at 6 regardless and heads home. Depending on if we are in a doubles or singles session, at 6 I am either just arriving for my 1 on 1, or I might be leaving after a double, but in either case I have Al Anon in the next town over at 8pm. I look at that as my one night to have Chinese for dinner, so I go and enjoy myself.
Oops – gotta go run off to the lawyers and get this estate settled.
Day 2424 Another Productive Weekend
Yep. Had myself another one of those “getting shit done” weekends. Now I need a week to recover from it.
Started out early (but not early enough) and had a lovely freezing ride to the Y Saturday morning. I knew it was going to be cold when I looked out the bedroom window & saw frost on the roof of the back porch. Still – I rode. Wearing shorts too. I did think to wear gloves and to tell the truth, that made a huge difference. Once at the Y I sprinted upstairs to get to spin. Made it just at the end of warm ups, which was fine because I was totally warmed up from the ride there.
After the gym routine, I had to de-clutter the bathroom project. It’s amazing the amount of debris that built up. Of course, once the room was decluttered I immediately dove into removing a window and tearing out another wall. After that, I figured out a relatively easy way to peel up ceramic floor tile en-mass. I went after the luaun underlayment and took the backer board & tile with it. The underlayment had just enough flexibility to not break except at it’s seams and did a nice job of supporting the backerboard. The backerboard was stiff enough that the tiles didn’t come flying off in the process. The worst part was prying it up, then lugging it out to the curb.
I should have taken a picture of the pile I had at the curb for the Waste Manglement guy. After today he is sure to hate my guts. I left him glass from two sets of storm windows, the panes & frames from two sets of double hung windows, two 35 gallon cans of drywall debris, another 25 gallon can only ¾ full of ceramic tile & backerboard (that still weighed over 80 lbs), about a rolls worth of ancient (45 year old) R-8 insulation (yes, that’s all they used back in the 60’s, R-8 in the walls. Terrible!!), a whole shit load of various sized pieces of wood – busted studs, trim, cracked T & G sheathing, and I thin somewhere in there I snuck in a can with a weeks worth of household waste. Those floor sections are gonna suck to get into the truck. I had the joy of carrying them down stairs without never really having to lift them. Poor guy.
Sunday I put a new window in – after making the requisite two trips to the home store for supplies. We’ve some reclaimed bedroom space that’s going to house all of Cindy’s make-up gear. She’ll have an entire drawer unit for all her lotions, potions & powders, a desk drawer kind of thingy and one of those lighted magnifying mirrors. No more taking up sink space to do the morning make up routine. Which I don’t understand anyhow. How is it men are allowed to wander the face of the earth without having to apply hundreds of dollars worth of ‘product’ to their face & hair, but most women wouldn’t think of leaving their bedroom without some sort of camouflage on their skin in an effort to misinform each other and the opposite sex about their true age and/or real appearance. Sorry – long question. Probably rhetorical too, unless one of you wants to try and tackle it.
Anyhow. After the window in the make-up area, I got the rest of the floor stripped down to the subfloor and started laying out where the new walls will be. I need to figure out how to splice in a 45 degree section of wall. I’ve seen them all over, just never bothered to figure out what the framing was like behind it all. Now I need to know. Maybe Google knows the answer. It’s as good a place as any to start the search.
Turns out Google DID know the answer. Here’s a view of the 135 degree junction looking down from the top side:
That junction IS a 135 degree angle. When I looked up a 135 degree corner, nothing useful showed up in the search results. But when I looked up a 45 degree corner, I found all sorts of pictures & advice. It’s funny how the mind works, or not, as the case may be. The other odd note: to make this 135 degree corner, I will never have to set a saw to cut 45 or 135 degrees. The working angle will be 22.5 degrees. That comes up this weekend. I may just haul the table saw upstairs to make this a little easier. It’ll probably save a whole bunch of trips up & down the stairs. I could use the work out, true, but I’d rather not have to haul 8 foot long hunks of wood around with me. Having to pay attention to two things 8 feet apart while turning corners and navigating stairs is more than I want to tackle when I’m trying to remember lengths and angles too.
Today (Tuesday) things on the job front are bubbling a little bit. I got an email from a local agency that want to interview me for a position as a manufacturing engineer. The down sides to this one are that the town is 70 miles away and the job is more mechanical than electrical. I still responded that I’d love to do an interview for the position, figuring that I could use it for practice as much as anything.
Of course, two hours later I get an email asking to set up a phone interview for a job in Pittburgh, Pa with UPMC as their 2nd shift Radiology Engineer. Shit! I’d rather have a practice interview with the local-ish folks before I interview (even on the phone) with UPMC. They were one of my favored positions. Housing markets are comparable, pay is similar, I’ve been a Pirates baseball fan since the days of Willie Stargell & Roberto Clemente, and Zach is a dyed in the wool Penguins fan. We’d see him twice a year for hockey games, no doubt.
I’m going to hold off on the phone interview until Thursday evening. That gives me a couple of days to scrutinize the posting, research answers to questions I can anticipate, research material for questions I may not anticipate, and come up with some questions myself.
In the name of research, what questions would YOU ask a potential employer? Forget about the normal benefits related things – vacation, health insurance, 401k, pension, & possible relocation. (My needs there? 4 weeks minimum, yes – 50% is normal, slide over my existing 401k and do you guys match the first 1, 3, 5%?, and which movers do you have working arrangements with? Will you front me money till my house sells?)
Do I NOT go some of these places yet? Should I play coy and not commit to anything on those topics, deferring to negotiating them all later? I like that approach. I will also be asking The Google these questions, as well as the umpteen job sites I have accounts with. This is going to be worse than studying for a final.
Completely random thoughts & comments:
My laptop has been acting wonky, especially file explorer. I’ve been running Stinger (from McAfee) since 10:30 this morning. 5:10 later, it’s STILL chugging along, although it has made it to the WINNT directory. Almost done.
Odd note for the IT folks out there – Stinger requests that I disable restore points during the scan. If viruses or Trojans are found, it will need to get into the restoration data and remove any potential dangers from there too. Our corporate IT settings are such that I can not disable the auto restoration settings, so Stinger can’t manipulate those files. And yes, I have as full admin privileges as I can get on this beast.
Here’s a progression showing original windows & the process of moving them about 4 feet to the left, while replacing them with newer, energy efficient units.
You didn’t get to see it, but the combination of Stinger running, having 34 other apps running in the background and running 3 things off of USB ports plus supporting a separate USB hub aused my crap top to display the Black Screen of Death. Yup. That sick puppy just shut down. I think that’s a sign.
Jay, one of the front desk people at the Westside YMCA, has been bugging me lately. For about the last month every time he scans me in he looks me up & down and comments “No helmet yet?” which is a not very subtle way of asking “Hey you nut case, aren’t you riding outdoors yet?”
Jay is really impressed by my penchant for riding my bike to the Y just to take a spin class. I’m sure he thinks it involves a certain kind of ‘commitment’ (as in committed to the nut house) to want to do something so silly. Jay clearly does not ride.
I look at it as a nice way to extend and enhance my exercise time. Riding outdoors somehow uses different muscles than spin class does. Try both, then pay attention to how much more your glutes hurt after a nice hour long outdoor ride. Often, the soreness one feels in the glutes has nothing to do with the saddle and everything to do with those muscles complaining about being used so harshly. You just have to get out and ride to toughen up your ass, that’s all.
So. In an effort to become a hard ass, I think I might actually get to put in a few miles outdoors this weekend. I have grand plans to ride my trusty steed to the 7:15am spin class Saturday. That’s a 4.2 mile ride, slightly up hill, usually into what little breeze there is in the morning) followed by around 75 minutes pedaling hard to get no where. After class, I think I might take the long way home and see if I can sneak in an extra 6 miles to make it a 10 mile trip home.
Monday and Tuesday look rainy, so no riding to work. Wednesday & Thursday look pretty nice. Cool-ish in the morning, but if one pedals hard enough, heat generation isn’t an issue. Even at 39 degrees, shorts will be fine, but gloves will be necessary for the hands.
Here’s the forecast thus far:
Some of that looks pretty survivable. Regardless, I need to start packing on some serious miles if I’m going to be ready for doing 100 miles for the Tour de Cure June 12. That’s 10 Sundays to build up to 100 miles. If I count spin class as 18 miles (my average outdoor speed on moderate outdoor terrain is 18mph), I think I’m good for 30 right now just falling out of bed.
Then there’s this:
|Week Ending||Long Ride||Commuter Miles|
Roughly translated, starting this week with one long ride of 30 miles, if I increase by 15% a week I’ll be ready for 100 by 6/12. Additionally, I ought to be able to add in 32 miles of commuting a week (2 days round trip to work) so by the time the TdC is done I should have a minimum of 901 miles racked up towards my (newly stated) goal of 1500 miles this riding season. Now I have to learn how to do a table thingy in the side bar to track progress.
Of course, job status, job hunting and job location will play a part in all of this. I got a nibble on a Biomed job in the Tampa/St. Pete area. That nibble has led to a new slew of applications being sent in for similar jobs in the area. The thought of going to Florida is kind of exciting. Year round biking & golf, gobs of sun, new plants to learn about & grow, beach time every weekend if we like.
None of it is real yet. Neither is heading to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Philadelphia. Sadly, Portland & Seattle are out of the running – too far from the family. But Tampa? I think we’d manage to see the kids two or three times a year. Sad, but possibly necessary. We’ll see.
Cindy is all about changing schedules & priorities NOW just in case we have to move next week. In our last counseling session when she suggested I do something ‘just in case we have to move’. I explained to her that I will do everything I can towards the job search, I’ll get the bathroom remodel done as quickly as reasonably possible, but I’m still taking the time to get in my TdC training and golfing once a week. I’m not going to turn my world on its ear for something that might happen. If you do that and nothing DOES happen, you wasted a lot of time & effort. I don’t think she buys it. She’s going to nip & nag & apply pressure to get what she wants. She’ll get pissed because I’m resisting, I’ll get pissed because she won’t let up. This will be a perfect opportunity for us each to learn a lot. I hope we’re both receptive to the lessons we’re about to receive.
Hey – I might get to sneak in a rode tonight too!! High of 52, 10% chance of rain – I see a 20 miler coming. There’s a bridge over Black Creek that’s exactly 10 miles from . . . . awwww shit. I need to stop by the bike shop and get chain lube, a new tire and a tube patching kit, then I have to swing by Beers of the World and get a bottling bucket. My batch of Edmund Fitzgerald clone brew is ready to bottle and I need a second bucket. Dang. Oh well.
Yeah, I know, crazy a it sounds I’m re-doing our mater bath. Even with the job status in limbo, we’re going to tackle this. We have half the materials, we have the other half of the money. If we manage to stay, it’ll be a killer bath. If we have to sell, it’ll be a fantastic selling point.
Anyhow. Got the old 4th bedroom stripped, got the old master bath stripped, except for the toilet. No water supply though, so no peeing in the toilet. It’s only there because the trap blocks the sewer gases. I will have to yank it at some point, but for now, it stays. (Actually, with a 5 gallon bucket of water, I could get 3 flushes out of it. Hmmmm . . .)
Like I was saying, I can tell renovation season is upon us. Two days of actual work and my hands are already beat up. Stabbed my left thumb with a flooring nail as I was carrying a load of old oak slats down stairs. I think I managed to keep most of the blood on the slats as I headed for the bathroom and the band aids. Didn’t hurt much at all, but boy, did it bleed! I have this gouge in my right pinky finger, right on the outside of the first knuckle. No clue how I earned that one. It did hurt though, but only when I caught the flap of skin that was dangling loose from the cut. So I got rid of the flap. Feels much better now. I also have a gouge taken out of my right thumb, but that’s more like a tiny chunk of road rash. Don’t think it even bled any (but I’d better go check the carpets just in case.)
Of course, by Sunday night my knees were sore from kneeling on hard wood floors all day, and my back was sore from bending over ripping up the hard wood floors I wasn’t busy kneeling on. But then things got better.
Last week, we smoked a small pork loin for dinner on Sunday. (A “small” loin starts out around 3 pounds. I cut ‘em down some from the butchers whole loin offering.) Because there was going to be gobs of space left in the smoker, I also got a roaster chicken ready to go the night before. So we had the smoked loin for dinner and I stripped down the chicken and put it in the freezer, figuring I’d make a gumbo with it later on.
Last night was later on. After I was done bleeding for the day, I washed up and commenced on slicing & dicing the veggies. Got my roux done, steamed/sautéed the veggies and some chorizo (sssshhhhh, that’s all I had for smoked sauage) and got the stock added back in. Let that stuff get happy for a couple of hours.
Oh! I did have Andouille sausage, but it was fresh style, not smoked & pre cooked. Got that stuff chunked up and added it to the stock & roux so it could get happy too.
Then I grabbed an Irish Stout and hit the hot tub. Amazing what soaking in the tub will do for you. Muscle aches? Gone. Sore knees? History. Cuts & scrapes? Still a pain. Can’t have everything I guess. But boy, did I feel better.
Got back inside, added my chunked up smoked chicken to the simmering stock and checked on the rice. Then, just in time for Amazing Race everything was ready to go. Smoked Chicken & sausage Gumbo, a big assed tossed salad (to fill up on, so as not to go all bat shit with the gumbo) and a slice or two of sundried tomato & parmesan bread.
The fresh sausage made a huge difference in the gumbo. It’s a radically different taste from the Johnsonville Andouille we get around here. I loved gumbo before, even with the smoked/pre-cooked sausage, but the fresh stuff adds a whole ‘nother layer of flavor. And the smoked chicken? Almost as good as the smoked turkey. Got to add more cayenne this time too because there weren’t any people eating it that thought something like a jalapeno was ‘too hot!!’. Sissies.
Anyhow. Good Gumbo and a dip in the tub is quite enough to cure what ails you. For an hour or two. Then you realize that Monday morning is still coming. Or actually already went by. Now I have to think about getting to spin class. Funny – the hot tub did NOTHING to make my glutes & hammies feel any better.