Tuesday, September 29, 2015

And... I'm Employed

Just like that?
Just like that.
Can it really be so easy?

I've settled into a nice routine here, looking for work in the mornings, working on the house in the afternoon.

Thursday followed the normal mode. I was still wearing my job-hunting hat after lunch; there were just a few more places I wanted to look into. As I was paging through one of the job hunt sites, one of the ads I'd skimmed over caught my eye. The job description was generic, but right up my alley, so I sent them a note, attached my resume, and moved on.

About an hour later, the phone rang. It was Jasmin, from the company with the job ad, and wanted to talk to me about my application. We talked for about ten minutes about my background and her company and decided that yes, this could possibly work.  I asked her, "where do we go from here?" At this point, I still thought she was one a front-line recruiter, who would then pass on my information to the hiring manager. It wasn't until she said, "Well, at this point we usually do a technical interview, but I don't see any need for that in your case, so you'll receive an offer from us in 2-3 hours" that I realized I'd been mistaken.

An offer?
I didn't know this was the interview, I was just asking questions!
I forgot to be nervous!

Sure enough, about three hours later, I got a phone call from them with an offer. We talked for just a bit, he sent the paperwork across. I took a look at it with fresh eyes in the morning, and after just a bit of negotiation, I accepted the job.

I start next Monday. They're a small consulting firm; I'll be working on one of their larger contracts.


I've been trying to enjoy this last week of relative freedom before jumping with both feet back into a sea of work.  Haven't made much progress; I'm eminently distractable. Before I stalled us out, Joe was making great progress on the new flagstone patio (see photo above - I'm going to LOVE the final results!); I was starting to build the kitchen cabinets. I still hope to get one or two more of them done this week.

It's all happened so fast; I don't think my mind has quite caught up with me.
Ready or not, here I go!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twitch, Twitch

There's something about this job search process that's set the bottom lid of my right eye to twitching.

I've a more-or-less schedule going here; I look for work in the morning, work on my projects in the afternoon. I've heard looking for work is a full-time job, but I don't have the focus needed to look at job listings all. day. long.

I've set myself some simple goals - apply to at least one job each day, follow up on previous openings, look for contacts to help me get beyond the job board application black hole. I start each morning with a full cup of coffee and a fresh attitude. I pull up the listings, and start reading. There are a lot of jobs out there, it takes time to sort through the requirements to find the ones with possibilities of being a good match. About an hour later, the words start to blur. Twitch. I find myself looking at the listings, paging through without actually comprehending a word. which means I have to go back and look through them again, because some of the are the sort of work I'm targeting. Twitch.

I fill out an application, try to answer the questions well, try to come up with a short, snappy, relevant cover letter that will have the hiring manager dropping everything to call to snatch me up for their job before one of their competitors gets smart and beats them to the punch. Repeat.

About this time, the twitching is becoming downright annoying. Twitch. Oh, settle down, Janice. Twitch. This isn't so bad. Twitch. Look, here's somewhere new to look. Twitch. You can picture yourself here, can't you?  Twitch, twitch, twitch.

Fine. that's enough for today, let's pick this up in the morning. (twitch subsides almost immediately)

I'll be glad when I find work.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Be Nice!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with people who come through the short-term rental place next door, and most of the hate part stems from the shared driveway. The drive is narrow, and there's not a lot of room on their side of the road to maneuver once you get up it. Often, the guests will drive on up - and only then realize how little wriggle room there is to get back down, especially when we have our cars parked on our side. And, since many of them are from out of town, they are driving unfamiliar vehicles.

Earlier this summer, when I was not in an especially good space anyways given all that was going on with Kate, one of them managed to ding up my downspout on their way down the drive. I talked to the owners about it, they offered to fix it (they're good about such things), but I turned them down, figuring it's only a matter of time before someone does it again.

I tried to set it aside, but somewhere in my mind, I was still fuming. Not so much over the ding as over the unwillingness of some theoretically responsible adults to own up to the messes they've made. I thought of varying ways to protect my property - one of those concrete columns protecting the gutter came to mind, or perhaps a big railroad tie along the side of the house. I couldn't come up with anything that wouldn't inconvenience me as much as it would my unwitting neighbors, so I went to Minnesota and let it go.


I came home, and sure enough, the dent I'd told them not to try to repair was still there. (duh!) I found myself tarring all the temporary neighbors with the same brush, looking at them with suspicion and distrust. The first group made it easy - a group of self-absorbed twenty-somethings using the house as their wedding prep site. There were a lot of them, and sure enough, they managed to park two cars out back, blocking the drive so we had to get them to move one of the cars so we could get out.

I was working in the yard this weekend when the latest group pulled in.  Still wary, I watched them pull a good-sized SUV into the yard. But then, but then. The father came over to introduce himself and say hello. They are in down for a few days from New Mexico, so their son can see one of the Children's Mercy doctors for continuing treatment of severe scoliosis. The mother came to introduce herself with a big smile and a compliment for the work I was doing in the yard. Even the teenage daughter smiled. And the son, the son who will deal with the same health problems his life long that plagued my good friend Charlie, looked up from his e-toy and flashed me a smile that echoed the one I miss so much on Charlie's face. They proceeded to get into their car - she stood outside to carefully guide it safely down the narrow channel, and since then, have parked on the street.

Makes it hard for a girl to hold a grudge. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


The hoped-for job didn't come through (there were some teasers in there - recruiters called with good jobs last week, but neither of them materialized) and so, with decidedly mixed feelings, I headed back home last weekend, with Kate, Alexandra and my niece Juliann in tow.

We packed up and headed on out last Friday morning. The drive down was the best kind - uneventful - we got here in time for dinner. Our weekend turned into a whirlwind of get-togethers. Kate is well loved, and her friends here wanted to see her; to see with their own eyes that she is on the mend; to touch her and share their care.

They left Sunday afternoon, leaving the house way too quiet behind them. No toys scattered on the floor, no ice cream for breakfast and lunch, no soft small cheek to give one last kiss goodnight to as I head to bed myself.  I miss them.

But it's also good to be home. To see the butterfly garden in all its weedy glory (the plants stand four feet tall!), to check on my green tomatoes (why are mine still green? the rest of the world's tomatoes are ripened and eaten by now!), to sleep in my own bed.

Despite my time job searching in Minnesota, yesterday was the first day that felt like I should have been at work and wasn't. I guess, to my heart, the rest of the time since I left in July doesn't count because it was just an extension of the times I'd been running up there to help Kate through the aftermath of her chemo treatments.

Yesterday, I slept in a bit, just because I could. I lingered over my coffee, just because I could. I enjoyed the quiet of the house; the company of the cat who is thinking about forgiving me for my long absence. Oh yeah, I also started to look for work.

As good as it was to spend time in Minnesota, and it was good, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

State Fair

I'm not one for big crowds, but I've always heard how much people LOVE going to the Minnesota State Fair. Since Kate's current apartment is closer to the fairgrounds than most of the attendees get to park, since I'm currently between jobs so my days are not full of mandated activity, and since this looked to be the only year both these things will be true, I pushed my grumbly self out the door yesterday morning just as the booths opened.

I figured it was a rocking chair thing. A small one, but still. When I'm ninety, and about all I can do is sit in my rocking chair and think back over my life, when I think about this juncture, will I be glad I did this or sorry? Will I be sad I didn't take this chance, or relieved that mischance had passed me by?

In this case, I decided I'd be sorry I'd missed the chance.  And so I went, and I'm glad I did.

I came in through one of the back gates, into the swine barn first thing, and was captivated by the pigs.  Pink, black, spotted, most of them sleeping.  A few enterprising souls were up, trying to get the latches on their cages open.  Not so stupid, pigs.

From the pig barn, I walked on through to see the cows, the horses, the sheep, then onto the main streets of the fair, where can be purchased a large variety of foods on a stick.  The people watching was even better than the animal watching.  I pulled up a comfy section of curb and sat and watched the world go by. It was still early in the day, so folks were in good humor. The weather was good, they were excited and happy to be at the fair. I saw lots of crowding, but very few scowls at the inevitable bumps as those who decided to stop and change direction without signalling collided with those not quite watching their step as they conversed and got distracted by the fried cheese curd booth on the far left.

I wandered through the merchandise booths (didn't find anything I couldn't live without), went to the newborn life building and oohed with the rest of the crowd at the newborn lambs, stopped in the coliseum to watch the border collie herding trials.  I bought a fresh pretzel.  (I don't think it counts as going to the fair if you don't purchase at least one item of food.)  I didn't stay all day - couldn't; my feet won't take the punishment these days - but headed home mid-afternoon, a bit hot and tired and grubby, happy with my decision to see the fair.