27 December 2005


Tomorrow's the day for my current job prospect for new full-time work. I'm actually not that nervous because I feel like I have other potential opportunites (although I don't really know where) and I feel like I'm going to be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me to decide whether it is a good match. Maybe I should be more nervous, but I feel pretty good.

K and I are also putting in an offer on a new house tomorrow, so I'm crossing my fingers that the sellers are willing to barter with us because their asking price is a little high. Apparently they had this house on the market over the summer at a much higher price and couldn't sell it, so maybe they'll be ready to negotiate. K thinks I'm not a great negotiator because I always want to offer an amount I think is fair, instead of something that is too low and assume they're going to barter upward. I guess we all have our theories, but I never assume that I know what the true value really is so I usually don't feel to bad about where I end up.

Also, I get to hold little Z tomorrow and give NSP a big hug, so tomorrow should be a good day...if I can just get some sleep tonight, I'll be all set!

24 December 2005


Yesterday was a long, long day of searching for somewhere to live at the new place. We were late to everything all day adding to the stress and driving me completely batty. Two rental places and four houses later, we did find a place we're interested in, but since the contract for our house hasn't been signed yet, I'm not ready to put our financial future on the line right now.

After running around all day, K and I made the mistake of heading to the largest mall in the area in the hopes of being able to finish my last minute shopping (yes, K was already done). I think it took us longer to get in and out of the parking lot than the shopping actually took, and we got out as it was raining, so when we got home of course it was snowing.

We were able to finally get the pick-up back yesterday, but it didn't make it up the driveway either since it doesn't have snow tires yet and something funky is going on with the 4WD. Thankfully our spectacular mechanic neighbor is putting the snow tires on for us today, so hopefully we'll get the whole situation straightened out. I'm just glad that I don't have anywhere to go until the 28th and I'm leaning towards the option of just not leaving the house until then.

So from the snowy north, I hope that everyone has a great holiday season!

20 December 2005

I am the tortise

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I shouldn't be too concerned that I don't have a new job and I don't have a place to live yet, right? We are going Friday to check out places to live, and I have an interview next week for a job that sounds so-so, on the day that little Z and Not-So-Pregnant are coming to visit. The woman buying our house came by Sunday with a list of questions, and I realized just how filthy the whole place is with the rolling balls of dog hair and the scuzzy kitchen tile and the dirty bathroom. And how I can not possibly have my nephew here in such a mess, so I'm adding that to the list of things to accomplish. Maybe once I'm off work I'll be able to get all these things done (hahaha!!!).

Our kitchen was chest high in holiday baking yesterday and K is finishing it up today so that I might be able to actually give gifts to people tomorrow. I'm usually a stress-eater, so I thought that having all the holiday goodies was going to be bad for my waistline, but I'm actually too stressed to eat. I don't feel like I have time to enjoy any of it, and I usually feel kinda nauseous anyway. There are still people I have no idea what to buy for Xmas and they are people I have to send presents in the mail, although at least I've been keeping up with the wrapping for the presents I do have. Better late than never, hopefully.

We don't even have a tree and there is no foreseeable time in the days between now and Xmas that K and I will both be together with enough time to find and decorate one. No wonder it doesn't feel like the holidays yet. Just because we don't have a tree until the day after Xmas doesn't make it any less festive I guess. We'll just pick one up after the neighbors throw it out. Reduce, re-use, recycle indeed.

17 December 2005

Cold feet

Last night I found myself freaking out about the whole quitting my job and moving away deal. I think it was primarily because we've been looking at houses, townhomes, and various rentals to try and figure out where we are going to live, and it is going to be at least $1200/mo. for a two-bedroom place with no storage that will let us take Watson. Houses seem to go for a minimum of $210k, when we're leaving a house that is $150k, so that is a big jump too.

So what the heck am I going to do if we get down there and the deposits and withdrawals just aren't meeting up? I suppose we could go on a diet, crank down the heat, walk as much as possible, and only shower every few days, but there are only so many places like that to cut. K tells me I'm over-reacting and we'll figure it out. And then proceeds to tell me that if I'm worried about it now, how are we going to make it if I go back to school and don't work much if it all? Aaack! Not comforting. Sometimes it would be nice if I had someone who could look at me and be confident that "everything's going to be all right". I've even told K straight up that he just needs to say those words (unprompted), no luck yet.

Just wanted to share my paranoia fit with the rest of you since you aren't lucky enough to experience it in person...

In other news, we finally picked up our new Civic today so now I can leave the house whenever I like! I can't always get home as the plow-guy is a lazy [edit cursing] who only comes to plow whenever he likes. The pickup is currently scheduled to be back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

15 December 2005

Quick updates

Surgery went well for Watson, but he is now the face of frustration:
He's never had the cone-head before and he spent most of last night standing in one place waiting for someone to show him how to get where he wanted to go. At one point he was laying in front of the recliner, stood up and bumped the cone into it, and just stood there with the cone touching the recliner for at least 5 minutes. K finds this hilarious, I find it sad, so Watson will probably gain his Xmas weight early this year.

K decided on the local job, so we'll be moving, but only a couple of hours away. I'm still poking around to find a job there, so hopefully that can happen soon.

No action on the new wheels yet, the salesweasel confidently proclaimed on Monday that our car would be in Monday night or Tuesday, and they currently have no idea where it is. He also left 8(!) voicemails while we were out of town despite having been told we were out of town. Now he seems annoyed that I call him at least once a day to inquire about my car, but I figure it is only fair that I leave him a minimum of 8 voicemails before we're finished. He's going to earn his money this time.

One of the women from the ambulance expressed interest in buying our house many months ago, and jumped on the opening that we're moving. She's coming by this weekend to do paperwork, so if all goes through we won't even have to pay a real estate agent. This has me doing a little happy dance.

12 December 2005

Snow is a four-letter word

In further explanation of my stress, today was the wrong day for the flaky white stuff. Ole' Clunk & Bang had a windshield wiper issue before we left on our trip, and surprisingly enough, sitting in the airport parking lot for a week didn't fix it. Not a problem Saturday or Sunday when the weather was nice, but today it snowed. All day. Not a lot of snow, but enough that every plow was out salting the road. Enough that there was massive spray when you followed or passed another car. Enough that you needed windshield wipers, which we did not have.

Since we are still at 1 working vehicle, I rode with K to work (90 minutes each way, see earlier post on waking time) so that I could bring the car back and do the approximately eight thousand errands that needed done, and eventually go to work. It was reasonably frightening to drive up there with no wipers, even though I was just a passenger. When we got to his work, I decided I was going to go the local dealer (because OF COURSE we found out Sunday that the part we need is a dealer-only part) and get it fixed. Basically, at this point, I was in a money-is-no-object state of mind. Just fix the stupid car so I can get where I need to go. K strongly disapproved, but he was at work and I was in the car, so he lost. In case you're wondering, the shop labor rate was $75/hr and it took them an hour and a half, plus parts, plus tax, and now I can see what is going on more than 2 feet in front of the bumper.

After this came the joys of auto financing as I sat in the credit union and waited for the loan guy to actually find the loan application we sent in before our trip. I would have thought a week and a half would've been enough to get it in the system, but somehow, he couldn't find it. Eventually he tracked down someone who knew what was going on, and all is pre-approved for when our new car actually arrives from wherever it is coming from (Timbuktu, or outer Mongolia, or whatever).

I have never actually done business with this credit union before, and K had mentioned their bizarre teller system, but he took it in stride. I find it is something that must be experienced or at least have some further explanation. They do not have teller windows at any branch. They have teller screens and video cameras. You have to talk to the TV in order to get them to deposit or withdraw money - or if the sound is broken like today, you have to pick up a phone to talk to them. You have to send your paperwork through the tube like at the drive-thru. I suppose if I were a teller, I would like the system because it would be impossible for someone to shoot you - the customers don't even know where you are. I'm betting they aren't even on the same floor as we are. If it wasn't for me being able to see her pull my paperwork out of the tube less than 5 seconds after I put it in, I wouldn't have even thought she was in the same building. All very surreal. I'm a huge fan of ATMs because I don't like to wait in line at the bank, or even drive to one actually, but when I do bother to show up, I'd like to see a real person. And what the heck are they doing back there when the cameras aren't on? Maybe I don't want to know.

Then 5 more errands, including picking up a week's worth of pre-Xmas holiday catalogs from the post office, before I got home for a brief rest and a quick turnaround back to work. After work, I got the joy of grocery shopping for the list of things K wants so we can start the holiday baking. I'm hoping "we" really means mostly he this year (as it was two years ago) because I'm neither in the spirit nor feeling as though I have the time.

There is also a long list of things I was supposed to do today that I never quite got around to. Including calling/emailing people who had expressed an interest in buying our house and looking for a new job. Minor details. Also, I'm almost-subconsciously worried about taking Watson in for surgery on Wednesday for this eye-lid-duct-tumor thing because it got bigger and nastier looking while we were gone and I still haven't figured out the transportation issues for that. So if I look like I might spit nails at you, now you know why.

(Loud teeth grinding sound)

I can't even come up with a title or two thoughts to rub together today, so I'll leave you with the visual of me being completely tense and stressed - which nearly always involves grinding my teeth and everyone enjoying watching those small muscles on the edge of my jaw contract and twitch. I'll try to post when I calm down, 4:30am does not agree with me for a wake-up time, and I have to do it tomorrow too. Thankfully for K, he's at work tonight so he might get some sleep instead of having to listen to me either grinding or the stuffed-nose-open-mouth snoring of hell.

08 December 2005


We arrived in Colorado late Tuesday night to below zero temperatures. I assumed that because they are in the mountains, people would be used to cold temperatures, but apparently the temperatures are unreasonably and unseasonably cold for this area. Between waiting on the luggage and waiting for a rental car, we didn't get out of the airport until almost 11p local time. We had to be up early the next day because Wednesday was our only chance to ride some powder.

Loveland was my pick for snowboarding because it was a less expensive and less famous area, so I hoped it would be less crowded and that I wouldn't feel so bad if I had to quit early. The altitude change is a killer, just walking from the parking lot to the lodge (up 3 flights of stairs) had me panting. The ski report included 7" of fresh powder in the last 48h and a morning temperature of -20 at the base lodge. My plan succeeded - there was us and only a few other crazy people out on the hill. We made fresh tracks on our first several runs, and even throughout the day we were able to find some untouched areas.

I've never snowboarded in powder before, so I took some good spills early in the day, but the powder is definitely more forgiving than the extremely compacted snow and ice I usually see in VT/NH. K even took a good tumble on one run where he went head over heels twice before coming to a stop. I missed it, but looked down in time to see the giant poof of powder that was probably 5-6' high where he fell.

We're off to interviews this morning and ride-alongs tomorrow.

05 December 2005

Travel update

Saturday, we each got to ride with the ambulance service here to try and get a feeling for what working here would really be like, and to get the chance to talk with actually employees outside the office when they're more likely to give you the real scoop. K and I both had the same slightly disappointed feel, we were hoping this would be an easier decision where somewhere would be soooo wonderful. But that isn't here. It isn't bad, and it does have a good location on its side, but no immediate love.

When I got back to the hotel, I went over to see K's family because they were going to pick him up. I talked to them for a while and it finally occurred to me that they thought I brought him back and I thought they had picked him up. Oops. I went back to the ambulance HQ and there he was, talking to the guys I had been riding with and wondering what the heck happened to me. I hadn't gone inside when we got back because I didn't have any reason to, or so I thought. Luckily the hotel is only a mile or so from the HQ, so he didn't have to wait too long for me to remember him.

Sunday, we went to the zoo with the family, then they all headed home. K took some lovely zoo pictures, so enjoy! We didn't get to see everything in the zoo, but it was pretty cold, so I think most of our group was ready to go after 2 hours anyway.

We also hit the movie theater Sunday evening, and I just have to tell you how wonderful it is to see a movie in a real movie theater again. Where the screen is bigger than my television at home. With stadium seating so I'm not staring at the back of someone's head and I can actually cross my legs. And we saw a great movie! Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I'd never heard of it before we decided to go, but I would highly recommend it.

We're off today to visit Forest Grove and then out to Astoria for interviews tomorrow, so I'll catch up when I can.

03 December 2005


We made it to Oregon yesterday, and were only an hour late for interviews, but at least we remembered the cell phone so we could call when we landed and let them know. It seemed like talking with everyone went pretty well and we both "passed" the written interview exam (which included medical questions and such gems as "why are manhole covers round" with space for 3 separate answers). K is already out on the streets this morning with the ambulance, and I'm headed out shortly, so we should get a pretty good feel for what things are like here.

The trip yesterday was a pain. We brought our snowboards for the Colorado part of the trip, and I completely forgot that I had my ski tool in my coat pocket. Despite what the news says about TSA relaxing the regulations, apparently that news hasn't made it to the local airport, so they're still enforcing the "no tools of any type" rule. The ski tool I had was smaller than a deck of cards and has 4 interchangeable screwdriver bits of less than 1" each for making adjustments to your bindings and such on the slopes. This is still a dangerous weapon on an airplane. I could do equal damage with a ball point pen, but rules are rules and my checked baggage was long gone, so I spent $6 to buy and envelope and postage to send home my $12 ski tool.

During all this, I forgot the carry-on suitcase at the checkpoint, so they paged and K came back to get it because I'd sent him on to the gate when they started going through every pocket (of two coats, my computer bag, and my purse) and when I wasn't there, he asked what happened and the TSA people had no idea. They all claimed none of them had "escorted anyone out" (which they did), and so K began to wonder whether they'd decided to lock me up or something. I was just hiking the 1/2 mile to the mailbox to send the tool, but I was definitely nowhere to be found. Grrr.

More details on K's local job offer...instead of having to work 24h and having 48h off, this one would be 24h and 72h off, so it only pays 42 hours a week instead of 56, but weekly take-home would be about the same as his current job. The health insurance for both of us would be completely paid for. The retirement package is different with both pros and cons compared to his current set-up. K also said that everyone seemed friendly and welcoming when he was hanging out in the station before his second interview, and that it was great to actually feel wanted as he is the #1 pick. I think we're both coming around to the idea of staying local, but it is far from a done deal right now.

01 December 2005

Up, up and away

We're headed into the great blue yonder for an interview trip to the west extremely early in the morning. I'll try and update/check email when I can...but we are going snowboarding, so I may not have too much spare time. And with our track record lately, we may come back in more pieces than we departed in.

Interesting news on the home front is that K was offered the local job he interviewed for today, so now he has all week to ponder the pros and cons of the jobs we're checking out and the one he already has in hand. We each have a hard time leaving an offer on the table to wait for something better, but at least now he has enough time to decide.