Saturday, January 31, 2009

General Update

Before I get started, ever wonder why a general update is less important than a major update, and in the military, a general outranks a major? Of course, they have major generals, but that's another story. Anyway, to get back to this update here...

Things have been going well here. The weather has been nice for the most part, and I'm enjoying seeing the high temperatures in Wisconsin where I used to live. (Especially when their high was three degrees Farenheit.) Work is going pretty well, and I'm getting an overdue pay raise soon (it's kind of a long story on that one.) More money is rarely a bad thing. I've been doing a little bit of training new people at work also, and that's kind of challenging but fun.

I also just renewed my apartment lease. The rent is going up some but not too much. After my apartment manager said he couldn't reduce the amount any at first, but we were able to come to a compromise. (The net price increase will be $15/month. I'm satisfied with that, especially since one of my co-worker's rent is supposed go up by over $200/month. He's planning on moving, and I would too.) I like my apartment pretty well, other than it lacking a washer/dryer, and I love the area and my commute, so I think staying here is a good decision for me. I may buy something someday, but I'm just a bit leery right now of jumping into any major financial commitments. So, maybe in another year or so...or longer, as I'm really not in a big rush. An overly long and probably dull video tour of my apartment can be seen here if you need to kill nine minutes or so.

I finally got my car's front license plate mounted. I should have done it a year ago, but better late than never. New Mexico, where the car was registered until I took possession, has no front license plate requirement (one of a minority of states that doesn't require them, it seems.) So, the car never had a front license plate mount installed. I bought the mount from the Chrysler dealer, which was a rather expensive piece of plastic in my opinion, but there were no holes drilled to put it on, so I had to get a drill to do that. I got a used from a friend at work, because he said the batteries on his cordless drill were shot. I figured that worst case I'd have to buy new batteries, but I got one of the batteries to take a charge, after some effort, and I finally got the holes drilled and the mount and plate put on today. I never did have a cop stop me for it and I doubt it's a big deal to them...but it's good to be fully in compliance with traffic laws.

I've been enjoying my new gym enough to try an exercise class. You know, when you haven't taken one of those for a couple years, you definitely feel it. The name of the class was "Pump, Define, and Align" but I thought a more appropriate name would have been "Pump, Define, and Die" by the time it ended 45 minutes later. Of course, the female instructor who was about half my size made it look effortless.

I was pretty sore the next day, and I had just gotten my tax rebate back since I did an early e-file, so I decided to splurge and get a massage at the club the following day. It helped, but my legs still were hurting, even after that. But I'm kind of jazzed to be exercising again and I'm planning on going to do a class tomorrow if I can stay awake after work. (I'm working afternoons, and that's going well, but I'm doing a trade with someone to come in and work a morning shift tomorrow after working an afternoon shift tonight.) Anyhow, if I can get a class in I won't feel guilty drinking beer during the Superbowl. I don't know if I'll become as much of an exercise fiend as Heather has been lately, but I'm trying to make the gym more of a habit, so we'll see. The class I want to take next is called "Strength and Sweat" so I'm sure I'll be sore after it also.

After tomorrow I have four days off, and I'm going to head out to Albuquerque and meet my friend Melanie there (she's taking a mini vacation.) It will be good to see Mom again since I haven't seen her since Thanksgiving. The last time I was in Albuquerque, Mom was in the hospital, so it will be good to be at home for a more fun trip. According to her main caregiver, Mom's doing quite well.

I then have some vacation later in the month, and I haven't decided for sure yet what I'm going to do. I'm leaning towards a road trip. I know that seems like a waste of my flight benefits, but sometimes I just don't want to deal with aviation at all, and my time off is around President's Day weekend, which is a rather busy travel time. But we'll see. Some of my friends say I should go to Europe or Latin America and that does have a certain appeal (especially Latin America) but I'm not sure yet. I will keep you posted and provide pictures of wherever I end up going.

I have a meme to work on from Facebook that I'm going to post here, but I don't have time to do it today, so maybe tomorrow afternoon or next week. Hope everyone is doing well and has a good Superbowl Sunday! (I'm rooting for the Cardinals, since I used to live in Phoenix and they're the underdog, but I have no strong feelings either way this year.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Reason I don't miss Wisconsin

Well, not this time of year at least.

Where I used to live the high temperature is forecast to be -1 tomorrow. Farenheit, not Celsius. Yikes! Of course, I lived through weather like that and survived just fine, but it's not something I'd volunteer to do again. If I ever visit, you can be assured it won't be anytime in January or February.

It's going to be cool where I live tomorrow (for us); only supposed to get up into the mid 50s. I might even have to wear a light jacket or something. Anyone living in a cold climate feel free to rub it in if I ever start complaining about the summer heat, but I'll take our hot over Wisconsin cold every time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Library Blogging

Greetings everyone. I know it's been a fairly long break...in my defense, I can say I was taking a holiday break, followed by working my butt off. Anyhow, I'm back, and blogging to you live from the library once again, where I've gone today to hang out while my apartment receives a long-overdue professional cleaning.

Not a whole lot new to report here. I actually had Christmas night off from work, which was unusual, due to a shift swap. I had a good time at my sister's house for dinner in the afternoon when I woke up (where I made some more of my infamous rolls for dinner) and then I went by to drop off some gifts at the kids' house whose CPS case I was involved with last year through my volunteer job. (They're still in foster care.) I even had a couple days off after that, so I almost felt like a normal person who gets to take a few days off around Christmas.

HOWEVER, in finishing out my graveyard shifts, I worked overnight on the 29th-31st of December, then in the afternoons on the 1st-3rd of January, involving having only eight hours off from 6 AM on the first until 2 PM that afternoon. Not much partying going on for me that day for me, unfortunately...but I was so happy to be getting off graveyard shifts that I really didn't mind much. I'm now working a 5 on 2 off 5 on 3 off rotation now on afternoons, and it's MUCH easier for me to get a good night's sleep. For some reason, I also find it easier to eat healthy on this shift also, probably because I don't mind having cereal if I'm just waking up, but if I was getting off work before I'd usually get a fast food breakfast (which taste good but aren't healthy at all.)

I worked out with a trainer at my new gym yesterday. He seemed nice enough but of course, he is also trying to sell me more training sessions. (The first one is free, provided by the club.) I told him I'd see how I was doing in a couple of months. I think I'll have better luck with exercising regularly while I'm working on the afternoon shift as well, but we'll see how it goes.

I was very disappointed and surprised to hear that the Magazine Man (or MM for short) has been laid off. He's the first person I know (in real life or online) to have lost their job in this current economic downturn, although I know he's not alone by a long shot. His encouragement is actually the main reason I started writing this blog, and while my writing pales in comparison to his, I think I've managed to tell a few good stories, here and there. Anyhow, I hope he finds new employment (or gets a book contract) soon.

The thought of layoffs at my place of employment crossed my mind last year when fuel prices were spiking (and there indeed were some employees in another department who did get laid off) but paradoxically, the airlines are doing BETTER now than last summer, due to capacity reductions undertaken then and the drop in the price of oil since then. We'll see how things go in 2009, but we are hiring more people in my department right now, which I'm happy to see.

I've mentioned this before on my apartment tour video, but I don't think I've ever written about it here...I knew MM was a published author, but I didn't know his real name or what he'd written for a long time. When his "secret identity" finally became known, I discovered that I do in fact OWN one of the books he'd written...I've had it since 1998 or so, I believe. We both got a kick out of that.

Well, I think it's time for me to run on here and go home to pay the cleaning ladies...I'll try and write something more interesting in a day or two. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying a happy 2009 so far (and while I know that MM has had decidedly NOT had a pleasant year so far, I hope the rest of this year makes up for this month.)