Archive for February, 2009
Throughout most of our lives we exist solely as numbers and nicknames.
We start and live our entire lives with a social security number. People call us Peanut, Pumpkin, Dumplin’, or some other nickname and we begin the long journey through life.
As we grow and adapt to the society around us, we are known by more numbers. These numbers link all of our information in one way or another. Our banks accounts, credit scores, grade point averages, and even our wholesale membership club cards are all linked to our social security numbers.
In this day and age with the Internet we develop an online presence and we choose our own nicknames and usernames to portray ourselves as we want to be seen by the world. Numbers and nicknames become the norm, and we live our lives as monikers and avatars.
Many people try to keep their online world separate from their real lives, but it seldom works. Whether you meet someone online or real life, you are human. You are bound to develop a relationship with other humans, whether you want to or not. We develop online friendships and we get to know each other. True, we may try to believe we are just numbers and nicknames to each other, but we all know there is a human behind that avatar, and we we feel. We feel because we’re supposed to. We’re human.
Well, that was fun. Today ended up being a day that’s for sure.
If you ever find yourself sitting at the Dept. of Labor at 8:30 in the morning for “orientation” so you can continue to receive your unemployment benefits remember a few things.
(1) Don’t leave anything open to interpretation. If it doesn’t make sense, ask them to rephrase the answer or at the very least repeat it. The person conducting our “class” was left out of the loop on several items that were common knowledge to everyone else in the room and it took quite a while to bring her up to speed on how things work at the DOL.
(2) Don’t forget your green sheet of paper that has your “proof” that you have been job hunting. A couple people forgot their copies and I thought the woman conducting the class was going to come unglued. I don’t want to see a DOL employee come unglued, I hear it’s similar to USPS employees going postal.
(3) Don’t believe everything you hear. We were told today that our country is in a depression, not a recession. All we had to do was look at gas and grocery prices and the sheer number of people out of work to realize she was speaking the truth. Well, that’s what she wanted us to think anyway. Some of us quickly informed her that we are not in a depression, in fact our current recession isn’t any worse than the one back during the late 1970′s. Of course those of us who pointed out that fact were the only ones in the room old enough to remember the late 1970′s.
Once “orientation” ended, I hurried home to finish my exercises.
Today was a crazy day. I spent some time on a phone interview this afternoon that I hope will turn into some temporary work. The company hiring is doing so on a short term contract basis to fulfill the need for one specific project.
The Director of Technology called promptly at 2:30 and we discussed my experience, their needs, my concerns (short term work), and things went very well. So well that he forwarded on two exercises I need to complete before noon tomorrow.
I will cut this short tonight so I try to knock those out before tomorrow morning. I have an “orientation” workshop at the Department of Labor tomorrow at the crack of dawn, so I need to get to sleep sometime too.
I haven’t been on a job interview in over a decade, so you would think I would be nervous as I drove up to Alpharetta on Friday for a meet and greet with the recruiter that called me in. But I wasn’t. Not in the slightest.
You see, I didn’t find this job on any of the job sites. I didn’t apply for this job. The recruiter found me and thought I would be a perfect fit for the job, so they set up the appointment with me. The way I looked at it, this was simply their way of getting to know me, and either way it would be beneficial for both parties. They could meet me face to face and I could get someone working in my corner to help me land the next great web developer job.
I was right. The meet and greet interview went great. I met with the recruiter and her account manager and we discussed all of the aspects of the position they were submitting my resume for. They told me a bit about the company I will hopefully be working for, and they made me feel like I had known them for years. I was only there about 45 minutes, but it was the most productive 45 minutes I have spent in a long, long, time.
Gidget saw an ad in the paper while I was at the interview. Belk was having a sale on suits, and since I haven’t had a suit that fit me since I took a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1988, we figured this was a good time to get one. I can use it for any job interviews and eventually if I need it for the new job. We drove down to Belk and checked out their selection. We found a really nice one on sale for $120.00 (just the right price for a tightwad like me), but they didn’t have my size, so we decided to check out the Belk at our local mall instead.
That was the best decision we could have made.
It’s been a whirlwind around here since Tuesday. We still havent had a chance to get those trees in the ground. At least their roots are covered with a nice wool blanket and it rained quite a bit yesterday to keep them happy. My muscles are still screaming at me tonight.
On Wednesday I received an email from a headhunter looking to fill a web developer position and I have an interview with them tomorrow afternoon. Finally, an interview. Keep your fingers crossed. Because of the interview, I had to make sure and get my haircut today. It was the first time in several years that I have paid someone to cut my hair. I usually just buzz it myself when it needs cut, but I figured it would be better to show up with a nice neat haircut rather than looking like a chemo patient when I walk through that door for the first time.
The storms came through last night and caused a lot of problems all over the place, but we were lucky. Two of the storms went just south of us and the other one missed us by about 10 miles to the north.
I took some video throughout the day yesterday and here is what I came up with.
That’s all for tonight, I need some sleep so I can prepare tomorrow before my interview.
It’s been a couple days since I posted, and there’s a good reason for my absence.
On Sunday, the wife and kids and I ventured over to my in-laws house to take out ten Bartlett pear trees from their backyard. My mother-in-law had them planted a few years ago, and although they have grown some, they were not doing well where they were and they were (for the most part) to big to try and move them to another location.
I oiled up the chainsaw, made sure it was gassed up, and took a small bow saw with me as well. When we got there I went right to work on the trees. I got five of them cut down before the chainsaw decided to kick the chain and stop working for the day.
We spent the next three hours digging up a few of them to bring home to our yard. The ones we dug out were smaller and much more manageable than the others. It took longer to dig out those three trees and cut down the remaining two by hand, than it did for all of the other work we did that day.
We loaded up two of the trees into the truck and began the adventure of driving home with 8 feet of tree sticking out of the back of the truck.
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Friday the 13th didn’t turn out as nice as it normally does. I usually have a great day while everyone else is cowering in fear of what will happen during the day.
It all started when Gidget got stuck at her mom’s house for an extra three hours because she and my father-in-law were stuck in traffic coming home from her radiation treatment. It turned out there was a very bad accident on I-20 and traffic was at a complete standstill for over 2 and a half hours. When they finally started moving it was already dinner time. She (my mother-in-law) was so exhausted because of her treatment and then sitting in the car all day.
When Gidget got home, we turned around and drove back into town, to pick up an order of fabric that had come in at JoAnn Fabrics. She got a great deal on upholstery fabric, so by summer we should have a “brand new couch” in our living room.
While Gidget was stuck at her mom’s I had to jump through hoops and get paperwork to all of the different agencies where we have applied for assistance. Things were complicated though because I could not find my unemployment benefits later and that monkeyed up everything else I needed to do for the day.
Thank God today is going much better than yesterday.
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Today was an awesome day.
Chuck had a 10 o’clock visit with Doc Win to check his eye. It is healing quite nicely, and they put him on an experimental treatment for his eye that involves a serum that, if it works, could help his eye in a way that we never thought was imaginable.
The veterinary staff member that studied the use of this serum is confident that it could make a marked improvement in Chuck’s eye, to the point that he might even recover nearly full sight in the eye. How cool would that be?
In the past couple days we have noticed a huge improvement already, as he is seeing quite well with that eye already (and we just started the treatment this afternoon). Chuck handled the ride to his checkup much better than the first one. I didn’t get any video today, mostly because he just laid there and “tolerated” the ride.
When we got home, I checked our bank balance and noticed money in the bank that was not there yesterday. After a quick check of a couple websites, I realized it was three weeks worth of unemployment, which is awesome. Next week we’ll have enough to make the house payment this month, which is very cool. Especially when you’re unemployed.
The day was going quite nicely, and it didn’t stop there.
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I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I chose to take Chuck to see Doc Win for his eye problem. For years we have been taking our pets to the same vet, but after the loss of Flash I didn’t think I could walk back into our regular vet’s office. I know it’s not their fault, in fact the entire staff handled our situation with Flash with the utmost respect and dignity. To be honest, I know I could handle walking by the room where we said good-bye to our beloved friend.
Since taking Chuck to see Doc Win last Thursday, his eye has improved to the point it actually looks better than it did before he injured it with the stick. Doc Win and his entire staff were on the ball and did exactly what Chuck needed, and for that I am extremely happy. Of course there are no guarantees that he won’t lose the eye eventually, but the swelling is gone, the eye has turned back to a normal position and the cloudy gray look (which he had before the accident) seems to be clearing as well.
Just before typing this post, I played with him with my laser pen to see if he could see the light. Right after we got him I put together a video of him chasing the light, and we knew he could see it at that time, but it wasn’t long before we realized he could no longer see it. Tonight, he sees it again, and he seems more focused on his surroundings, which gives me hope again that he won’t be completely blind in that eye after all.
I had heard good things about Doc Win over at Atlanta West Veterinary Hospital, and now I know why. I am looking forward to Chuck’s follow-up appointment on Thursday.
That’s not the only thing I am looking forward to.
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Oh man, I cannot tell you how sore I am tonight.
It all started earlier today when we decided we needed to do a thorough cleaning of the house. Yeah, yeah, we know it’s not spring yet, but with temperatures in the high 60′s for the next few days we thought we would take advantage of the beautiful days and get some work done around the house.
At first we were just going to sweep, vacuum, dust, mop, you know, all of the good stuff that goes with housecleaning. Then we decided it would be nice to have a couple of our bookcases next to our big screen television. Of course, the bookcases were in the basement, and had to be hand-trucked out the back door, around the house (which is all uneven and uphill) to the front door where they needed to be lifted up three steps so we could pull them into the house.
Did I forget to mention they weigh about 150-175 lbs. each? Yeah, my arms are killing me tonight. Once we got the bookcases in place, the living room came together quickly. Putting everything else back in it’s place took the rest of the night.
When we let the dogs in, Chuck “voiced” his displeasure with the new arrangement by walking around and peeing in three different spots. He hasn’t had an “accident” in the house in more than 2 weeks, and now he’s just pissing where ever he wants? I don’t think so.
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