Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keeping momentum

It has been two years since I started this blog and it appears that I have done a terrible job at growing my readership.  Of course, this is obviously my own fault entirely, but I am going to attempt to do my best to not go off in the way of several of my former favorite bloggers by simply disappearing from the face of the earth.

I imagine it must be quite difficult to be widely admired and followed by readers worldwide, so I am perhaps going to keep my goals smaller and more realistic.

Life has somehow managed to get in the way of writing.  Or perhaps I have simply needed a little time off to deal with the strange reality that the career change I was hoping for (into librarianship) appears to remain eternally elusive.  Unfortunately, paying on my student loans is not dependent on my being able to find gainful employment in my chosen field, so I must work however I can.  If it must be in banking regulatory compliance, so be it.

Yesterday I had a bit of a scary moment.  I very nearly erased the ongoing work of one of my coworkers, but thanks to the awesome power of the IT group and their recovery techniques, all was saved.  Just when I was starting to worry about my decision to leave my former job, I had a conversation with one of my friends and former coworkers today that reaffirmed my decision.  If there is anything I have learned from this prolonged experience, it is that it is simply not worth it to spend one's worthwhile waking hours at a job that makes one profoundly unhappy.

Total job satisfaction may be impossible, but I think there is much to be said for a job that does not bring you to tears every evening over the sheer futility of it. 

So, YAY for my new job.  In other news, my house is still on the market.  10 days running now.  I somehow suspect that my realtors prediction of a two week selling period will not work out to be true, but this was always my real expectation, so no biggie.  I can hold off on the apartment search.

But this whole thing brings me to a new thought.  For many years I have been restricted by homeownership.  Yes, I know it is a dream for many, but it has long been a weight around my neck that has kept me from pursuing new and potentially exciting options in other regions of the world.  I may now tentatively consider the possibility of moving somewhere new. 

Where?  I cannot really say for certain.  Maybe Hawaii.  Maybe Paris.  Or maybe just downtown Minneapolis.  Time will tell.  But I am going to brush up on my French in the meantime. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tame and sane happenings

Every time I start to write in recent days, I stop myself short.  You might assume I have caught a case of writer's block, but you would be wrong.  To put it simply, I find compelled to share things that are actually interesting.  Things like... listing my house, starting a new job and so forth.  Not things like how my dog doesn't like to eat first thing in the morning or how my allergies are taking over my life.

But then, if truly wild and crazy things are not happening, how can I write about them?

Last weekend, my brother came home to attend an outdoor concert at the legendary Cabooze bar stage in Minneapolis.  The band was Beirut.  If you've never heard of them, do not worry.  They are not terribly mainstream, but my father loves them.  However, other than my father, most of their fan base consists of heavily tattoo-ed hispter-esque 20-somethings.  Or younger than 20-somethings.

Hence, my immediate family was asked to come out to support my father to make sure he was safe and did not come home with any weird tattoos or piercings.  It was an OK evening, in truth.  My mom and I spent most of it seated at the beer garden/patio located directly to the south of the stage.  From this point we were able to hear the performance, sit comfortably, converse normally and drink copiously. 

It was an interesting conclusion to the historic day on which I listed my house for sale.

I now find myself one week later, facing a much more relaxed agenda for the day.  My father is still out on the farm, my brother is back in Madison and my mother is up in Ely celebrating the girls' weekend that I am obviously missing because I am not eligible to take any time off at my new job as I am in the 90-day starting period.  Call me immature, but I have placed an embargo on communication from the northland as I do not need to be reminded of what I am missing.

So yes, I am here with the three dogs.  My big plans for the day?  Driving back up to my house to fetch the mail and do some cleaning.  By way of an update, I had three showings in the first week.  I don't know if that is high, low or average, but it is better than nothing. 

The wonder of the Internet has now made it possible to receive comments and feedback online.  While I know it shouldn't, it makes me a bit nervous to get feedback on my house.  I both welcome and fear the criticism as it can serve to give me advice on how to improve my property but it can also be a judgement on how I decorate/clean/organize.

So far, I have only received comments for two of the showings and neither had anything exactly negative to say about the property itself.  One buyer decided they would rather have a unit with a fireplace and the other does not want to do a short sale.  Neither reason represents anything over which I have any power at this point.  Although it does slightly perplex me why people with these two major criteria would even bother to tour my home when it is pretty clear from the listing online that I do not have a fireplace and that it is a short sale.

But whatever.  I can wait. 

So unless some wacky hijinks happen today on my journey up to the house for cleaning, I would not expect to see anything too hilarious up in here.  But do not let that stop you from having a fabulous weekend and enjoying this (finally) good weather!

Monday, July 23, 2012


I hate to say this because I think it sounds dumb, but listing one's house for sale feels a lot like posting an ad for online dating.  You put everything together in what you hope is an appealing package.  Then you close your eyes and wish really hard that someone out there sees it and says, "A-HA!  This is the one for me!"

Hopefully my house's personal ad is more fruitful than any of the dating ads I have made over the year.  That is not to say that I have never had any success in generating interest; however, this time I really need someone who is ready for commitment.  I mean business with this one, you guys.

In other news, it has been a hot and humid summer.  No surprise there, I guess, but when you live in a part of the world where you endure endless months of winter on the promise that you will get to enjoy the relatively pleasant and mild summers we are rumored to have, it is a bit hard to take.  I had visions of outdoor activities and taking my dog for long walks.  Sadly, in this kind of weather, even my dog cannot bear to be out for long.

So how is my new job going?  Good.  It is such a total differentiation from the pace, atmosphere and intellectual demands of my last position that it is almost like I am living in a dream most days.  Thankfully I am starting to get into the routine and have discovered that my team is pretty cool.  In a company this size there is no way that I will ever have the level of intimacy I experienced at my old place, but sometimes anonymity can be fun.

This brings me to my one and only complaint so far. 

I have moved from a front end production-oriented arena to a cubicle farm.  Not that I mind the peace and quiet.  At least I wouldn't mind it if it were not for The Swisher. 

On a floor full of cubicles, one finds oneself amidst a wide variety of different work teams.  Yes, we all work for the same company, but in very different capacities.  For instance, immediately across the aisle from me is a man who appears to work on some very high-level technical information.  In general, he is a quiet man, which I appreciate.

To his credit, he also appears to be very interested in staying properly hydrated.  If only he could do this in a less conspicuous manner.  Every time he takes a drink of water from his bottle, he feels compelled to swish.  Repeatedly.  As if he were at the dentist's office.  Which he is not. 

Did I mention he does this EVERY TIME HE TAKES A DRINK?????  If he only did it once or twice a day, I could handle it.  But when he is at his desk, it happens literally every five minutes.  My only breaks are when he is away or when someone in the area is actually speaking or making some kind of noise to drown it out.

I know.  It sounds ridiculous.  A more creative person could perhaps pretend it was the sound of waves crashing or the wind.  But I am no such person. 

Will I say anything about it?  No.  But I secretly keep hoping to find out that he and his team are only on contract and will be heading out on their merry way.  Maybe tomorrow? 

Other than that, life is pretty much OK.  Obviously, nothing is quite settled with my house as it has only been on the market two days and the photographs just went on today.  Until that whole ordeal is done and over with I cannot really start to plan my future.  The idea of being untethered is glorious, but I am not there yet. 

So in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my sheltered shaded ramp parking and the quasi-peacefulness of my cube.  And I will be happy. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


So much has been happening, you guys. 

It may be a bit presumptuous to refer to my readers in plural as I suspect I have a readership following of zero now that I have taken a de facto break from blogging.

But I have good reasons. 

First, as you know, I have started a new job.  Two weeks in and it is going well.  Everyone is nice, I am learning quickly how to do the work and it is blissfully free of daily drama.  Also, the commute from my parents' house is awesome.  10 minutes, maximum.  Best drive EVER.  The hardest part has been trying to remember where I park every day.  It is tougher than you think.

This brings me to the obvious downside to the equation:  my house.  You see, I am a homeowner of a townhouse that has declined in value.  Hardly a unique position to be sure, but one that has given me no end of concern over the past several years. 

Now that I am working too far away to reasonably commute from my house, I finally have a good reason to make an honest attempt to sell the place.  As I had concerns over the readiness of my house for sale, I went up this morning to start a cleaning and organizing extravaganza.  My parents joined me a short while later, and by the time the realtor showed up at 12:30 p.m., it was looking pretty good.

So good, in fact, that I decided to put it on the market today. 


My realtor was very optimistic that things will happen sooner than I assumed.  This is good.  Very good, actually.  But it is a new process to me, selling a house.  I know there will likely be some bumps in the road, but at the end of the day if I can be free of the weight of homeownership, I think I will be a much happier person. 

But I will let you know how that goes.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oh boy!

Lena is watching me write this, so I had better make an effort to make it worth her while.

Thankfully, it appears that the "sleeper" mechanism on my A/C has run its course of torture and temperatures inside are returning to a tolerable and hopefully sleepable level.  If you know me at all you are aware that heat and most of all humidity are not my friends.  As I always say, I live in Minnesota for crying out loud.  One of the coldest states in the Union.  Wherefore all this miserable humid-ness?  It's enough to melt your face off.

In other news... some small creature keeps leaving tiny poops on my patio in the night.  I have yet to figure out what said creature may be, but the droppings are bigger than those coming from mice but smaller than those coming from my 15 pound dog.  Also, there seem to be a lot of dead spiders on my patio as well.  Perhaps they have simply expired in the heat, but I suspect foul play.  Perhaps of the amphibian variety.  Which brings me to a question:  how big are frog poops?

While I am discussing animals, I feel I should share my most recent bout of expensive pet treatment.  For not the first time, Lena has been having some digestive issues of late.  Ever the avoider, I brushed it off as just a glitch at first as I did not want to show up at the vet clinic freaking out like some sort of hysterical mother.  But after a few weeks of irregular eating patterns and one glorious night of multiple vomiting episodes at my parents house which I discovered at 2:45 a.m., I had to take action.

$350 later, I was armed with medication, special food and a powder to put on said food that acts as sort of an Activia yogurt for dogs.  Except that it tastes so foul that the end result is my dog not wanting to eat her food.

Just over one week later, I am happy to say that Lena is eating normally and her digestive system seems to be on track.  $350 later.

To tie up some loose ends, I would like to share that my library internship ended just over a week ago.  It was done unexpectedly early, but that was due to the fact that my projects were completed earlier than planned and I was so near the end of my hours as to make starting a new project impractical.  While it really was fun pretending to be a big important downtown worker once a week and listening to my MP3's on the train while trying to pretend NOT to check out any good looking guys on the train, I am thankful to be done.

So the last time I wrote, I believe I was in the throes of transition.  The company which employed me for 10+ years was taken over and I was feeling the stress/pain/annoyance/consternation that often accompanies such a transaction.  My initial response was flight, but thankfully reason won the day and reminded me that one should never leave one job without the offer of another.

In an early fit of anxiety, I went online and found a position in another company that sounded much more promising than anything my new employer would ever be able to offer.  On a whim, I applied.  Just once.  To one job.  With my library job application track record, I hardly expected anything to come of it but an eventual rejection email.

Much to my surprise, a few weeks later I received a phone call from the company to set up a time for a phone interview.  The phone interview went well and I was asked in for a real interview.  The interview went well and I was offered a job.  Not a library job, mind you, but a job closer to my actual work experiences of the past 10 years.  But better.

So starting on Monday, I will be working for a new employer.  Not a library, but I am still excited.  The pay is probably better than anything I would make at a library anyway, and the location is such that I can now really start to think about trying to sell my house.

The only tricky part is deciding what to do now about the whole library thing.  I mean, I did go to graduate school for 2+ years and spend a lot of money on this whole Master's degree thing.  Shouldn't I be working in a job that utilizes some part of that education?

I have struggled with this question, but in the end it all comes down to dealing with reality.  Yes, I am educated to work in a specific profession.  But that does not mean that the skills I learned in my graduate program cannot come in handy in any other seemingly non-related job.  I need to make money to pay back the student debt I incurred for school.  My new job and the possible opportunities that can come from working in a company such as the one I am joining are much greater from a financial perspective than anything in the library world.

So I will just have to make peace with my decision, and I think I am pretty close.

I am sure you will all be happy to get a break from my whining and complaining about the suckiness of life aside from my trouble dealing with temperatures over 100 and dewpoints over 80%.  Gross.  January is looking pretty awesome right about now...