Category Archives: Work

Hello again, ATC

Today was my second day at my new job. It almost feels like my old job. My old old job. Like, 2007 old job. It is in the same complex, with a lot of the same people, and pretty much the same industry. The downside of that is it means I am already pretty tired of three of the five restaurants on campus! The other two are new. But on the other hand, I already know the area, so I don’t have to do too much exploring for lunch spots. It is just a matter of whether or not I feel like driving anywhere, or feel brave enough to walk outside of the little bubble that is the American Tobacco Campus.

I haven’t actually done any real work yet. So far it has just been getting things set up, and learning about stuff. Hopefully I will get my hands on things tomorrow, rather than just watching demos. I probably won’t have much time to play around though, considering the whole day is full of meetings.

I had really wanted to get back to that start-up type of environment, and I got my wish. My department has 4 people in it… including me. So very different from my last job, where there were at least 70 people in my department alone. And the office is quite small and cluttered, just shy of cramped. I would say 90% of the furnishings came from Ikea. There are even people sitting in what should actually be a hall. The breakroom is somewhat of a mess, as it is littered with boxes of snacks and the tables have all been shoved aside to make room for foosball and table tennis. I will call it a “lived in” feel.

There are so many things I like about this new place, I really hope this isn’t just the blinders of the honeymoon period talking. With luck I will be happy to stay here for years to come!


I had originally given notice that my last day would be June 1, but decided to leave a day early. All my work was done and I was ready to move on. There are definitely some things I will miss, but I look forward to my new job. I am both eager for Monday to come, and a bit nervous. It will be a bit strange, going back to work at the American Tobacco Campus. A little like taking a step back in time.

When I got home though, my happy state was a bit damaged… I dropped my phone in the garage, shattering the back. Hopefully it isn’t an ill omen. I am grateful it was just the back, and not the front! That means a $29 fix versus $250. So tomorrow I will be heading to the Genius Bar for a replacement back plate, instead of sleeping in and relaxing. It is super easy to replace the back, but it voids the warranty. I am hoping that if Apple does it, the warranty will remain intact.

There isn’t much else to report really. I have just been keeping busy with my usual stuff. My store of canned goods is growing rapidly, and I will soon have to come up with a new storage plan for it. I am thinking guest room closet, or under the bed like my great-grandma use to do. Our tomato plants are getting large, and there are even a few tiny, green tomatoes on some of them. I will have to take photos soon! I am afraid to be hopeful about them, but maybe we can succeed in growing at least a couple tomatoes. Our herbs also seem to be doing well and our shishito pepper plants seem to be trying to produce some blossoms, but the plants are not very large.

Work, Tomatoes, Stuff

The past couple weeks have been pretty eventful. Our anniversary is May 3 (4 years now) so we both took the day off of work to spend it with each other, and made reservations for dinner at Ruth’s Chris. It was great to take a much needed day off of work, and even better that I got to spend it with Sean.

We spent the day being fairly lazy in the morning, then going shopping. So not only did I get to spend what should have been just another Thursday with my husband, but I got to spend it shopping with my husband. He hates shopping, so it was great that he put up with it for me without complaint.

It was time to get our rings cleaned and inspected at Jared, and it seemed pretty anniversary-appropriate, so that was our first stop. Sean surprised me by getting me a Pandora bracelet and necklace while we were there! I am in love with my bracelet, and keep nagging him for more charms.

The next day (Friday, May 4) I learned of a job opening that peaked my interest. I have really wanted to get back to a start-up environment, and this position seemed perfect. The current phase of the project that I am working on is coming to an end, the next phase due to start May 29. I have been saying that I would stay to see it through until then… so the timing was pretty much perfect as well. I immediately got to work updating my resume.

Then, on Saturday (May 5) we went to CompUSA to get some new speakers (mine died) and some replacements for Sean’s ailing case fans. Sean spotted a liquid cooling thingie and got all excited, but was going to go with the cheaper fans… until I encouraged him to get what he really wanted. Mistake! It failed within 24 hours and took his CPU with it. The CPU I just bought him for Christmas! Needless to say Sean was in a foul mood the rest of the weekend. Although his mood did improve once I gave him permission to order a new (and better) CPU as well as some RAM.

Monday (May 7) I heard that the company was interested in talking to me, and set up a phone screening for the next day. The screening went really well and I was invited out for an interview Thursday morning.

Wednesday (May 8) saw the arrival of Sean’s new CPU, which worked without issue… proving we were correct about his other CPU being fried. In the end he was super happy with his new and improved system. I keep teasing him that it was his plan all along to fry the chip so that he could upgrade.

Thursday (May 9) morning I had my interview. Thursday afternoon they called to say they wanted to make me an offer. This meant that on Friday it was very hard to concentrate at my current job, so I was very grateful it was the last day of testing and all my work was done.

Saturday Mom came up for Mother’s Day. We went for massages, followed by manicures and pedicures. I was totally unimpressed with the nail salon we went to… but she still seemed to have a good day. For dinner we took her to Hayashi for sushi to top the day off.

Sunday Mom & I went shopping. We got her a new iPhone 4S as a joint gift from Tressa & us, then wandered around the mall in a vain attempt to find her a new purse before heading out to the farmers market. While walking into the farmers market I was briefly excited to see a box of canning tomatoes, but they looked terrible.
My disappointment grew from there… there were no strawberries left, the carrot cake lady was already gone, and half the stalls were closed early. On my way out I stopped by the place with the canning tomatoes again and managed to strike a deal. They let me pick and choose and make up my own box of tomatoes… and only charged me $9. First tomatoes of the year! They are green house tomatoes, but that’s okay.

We got home just in time. Sean’s mom was already there, and he was starting to cook dinner. He grilled some great steaks for us and we had a nice dinner with the moms.

Monday (May 14) I got my offer letter and put in my notice. Everything became official, and I struggled to stay focused the rest of the day. Then I made my first batch of salsa when I got home!

Right now everything is good. Let’s hope it stays that way!

Work & SWTOR

It is hard to believe February is already nearly gone. It seems like Christmas was just a couple weeks ago! Things have been crazy at work for a while now, so I have been working a lot and the weeks just seem to melt together.

I am working on a project that has required me to learn new things, like running batch jobs on the mainframe. At first I was somewhat intimidated by it, but glad for the challenge and the addition to my resume. The first couple months I was working on this project I only had to dabble with it, but about mid-January I was switched to assignments that meant I really had to learn it.

After a few weeks of feeling like an idiot, I really started to catch on. Now I am at the point where I can actually help other people do things, which is cool. I have also gone beyond simply learning to run things and now know a little about editing the JCLs (scripting language used to run batch jobs on IBM mainframe) and reading the programs themselves (written in COBOL) to see what the program is doing. Reading the programs has also helped me improve my SQL skills, as the programs have some pretty crazy queries.

Everyone on the team having to learn about working with the mainframe and about testing the batch jobs really slowed us down, so our testing fell way behind. Plus testing batch jobs simply takes more time than our usual testing. It quickly became apparent that our deadline was unrealistic. And this company does not like moving dates… so the stress of that combined with feeling like an idiot when first working with mainframe made for a very unpleasant time at work. Just trying to get things done meant I have been working every weekend lately.

Thankfully they have a plan in place to help us now, so I shouldn’t have to work 50 hours a week anymore! Only 44-46. Although I will probably still be working more than that. But at least I can work from home now, which makes it easier. The company doesn’t really want us to work from home, but given the amount of work yet to be done they have acquiesced. Now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel I am starting to enjoy work again. The mainframe stuff is actually fun in a geeky way.

So if I have fallen off the earth for the past couple months, or constantly made excuses of “I have to work” … I really have been busy! I most likely wasn’t avoiding you.

Other than working A LOT the only new thing really going on over here is that I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Which means I have a PC again. No, I haven’t given up on Macs… I just slid it over and have two systems crowding my desk. If I could have played SWTOR on my Mac, I would! But the new PC means I can work from home too… the work VPN simply refused to play nicely with my Mac.

I am really enjoying the game, although I have only been playing a couple weeks. I guess you could call it my Valentine’s present from Sean. If you are playing on The Cosair (server) look me up. I have a level 21 Imperial Agent named Jaida.

Happy Holidays!

Yeah, yeah, I know I am a little late on wishing everyone happy holidays. Maybe at this point I should just say “Happy New Year!” instead.

Sorry for the silence, can’t believe I haven’t written anything since October. I kept meaning to, but life was pretty busy and strange for a while and then there just wasn’t much to write about after everything settled down.

So, to recap the past couple months…

A couple weeks after my last post I was laid off, and have been unemployed since. It hasn’t really felt like it has been that long though. My official last day was November 15, but I had planned to take that time off anyway so at first it pretty much just felt like vacation. And a much needed vacation at that. I hadn’t taken any real time off from work since our honeymoon, just a few days here and there.

Sean had a gastric bypass November 17, which is why I had already planned to take that time off. He was in the hospital for a few days, coming home November 20. The surgery went well and I think he has been happy with the results, although it has been a big lifestyle change and he is still adjusting.

November 20 also happened to be the day of a Ben Folds concert we had tickets for in Charlotte, but since Sean obviously couldn’t go I took my mother. I felt a little guilty about leaving him alone on his first night home, but he assured me it would be fine. Plus his mother was with him for a few hours.

The concert was great, but we had to leave early because my mother fainted. Her blood pressure was low and she hadn’t really eaten that day. Those factors combined with a warm room and standing up for hours resulted in a fainting spell. Just to be safe she opted to go to the hospital there in Charlotte, so we got to spend the night in the emergency department and didn’t get back home until 6am. She stayed with us a couple more days just so she could be sure she was okay to drive, then headed home.

By this point it was the week of Thanksgiving. Of course, Sean couldn’t really eat then; he was still on a liquid diet. Because of this we just had a friend over for a small turkey dinner, nothing special. I really just wanted some home-cooked turkey and cranberry sauce. The friend had to work on Thanksgiving, so we did it a couple days early… then on Thanksgiving Day we went out to eat with Sean’s family at Cracker Barrel. I must say it was the most stress-free Thanksgiving we have had in years.

See what I mean by things being busy and strange for the first couple weeks of unemployment? Those first few weeks were gone before I knew it, and with Sean being home as well it really did feel more like a vacation.

Finally at the end of November I got my last checks from Mo, and was officially done with them. At this point I was able to file for unemployment. Can you believe they still haven’t processed it a month later?? Well, I guess it isn’t too hard to believe. I bet they are very busy right now. By the time I get my unemployment backpay I will have started a new job!

Christmas was pretty good this year. Surprisingly good actually. I say “surprisingly” because neither one of us had much Christmas spirit, we didn’t even get a tree or decorate this year. Money was tight for everyone, and we were being cautious since I didn’t have any job prospects until just before Christmas. On top of all that, my Grandfather was sick this year and he is the one that normally organizes our family gathering. So my family just did a small get together with the local people back home.

We ended up just doing a few small things with Sean’s family. Having dinner with a different family members on the 23rd and 24th, then cooking lunch for everyone and doing a small gift exchange on the 25th. It wasn’t anything big, but it was still nice.

All of the gifts we acquired are things we can both enjoy. There were parts for the Mini, new Staub pots, a new Shun knife, a second TiVo, and an awesome espresso machine. Some will obviously be used/enjoyed more by one than the other, but I think we can both appreciate each gift and that makes it better. The best parts were spending time with family though. I loved having a four day weekend with Sean, and miss him now that his break is over.

Soon I will be starting a new job. It isn’t really what I was looking for salary-wise, but it is better than unemployment (assuming they ever pay me!) and it will allow me to learn new skills that will help me find a better job later on. I look forward to it, but I know it will be a lot of new things to learn.

I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas, and I hope that 2011 will be a great year!