Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm out...

Finally got out of my house. In fact, I was pretty much booted out on my ass... but the results are the same. After the person who was going to rent my house backed out at the last minute, I thought I was going to be stuck with paying the mortgage even while in Qatar. But just one day later, a very nice couple took and look and put in an application. Yet again, one minor detail... they wanted to move into the house in two days.

Well, let's just say that the past few days have been action packed with excitement... getting credit checks, packing more boxes, rewriting leases, moving things into storage, cleaning the carpets, getting new insurance, canceling utilities, forwarding mail... all good things. The couple have two young kids and they were really wanting to get into a house before their dad left... he was being deployed to Iraq, again, in just one week. He is a captain and a munitions officer with the U.S. Army. His wife said that they've spent their whole married lives together moving from rental to rental... so this was just another day... so another house to put together and get dinner ready for the kids. Godspeed...

Quick note of congratulations to my insurance agent, AJ. This week, he played in the Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League's equivalent to our Superbowl. Unfortunately, he and his Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Still, a great job for "Flight 97!"

Had a nice respite from the packing and moving to attend the wedding reception of my friend Katie's mom, Georgene. Had a really nice time rousing about with her family's Michigan contingent (pirogi lasagna, anyone?) and drinking a well-stocked supply of mimosas. Ended up talking about my soon-to-be-move, and everyone was really supportive and very cool... all except one silver-haired acquaintance. Right when I got there, Katie mentioned that this one person was a bit of a horse's ass, and to watch myself. This person, whom I have known for a whole fifteen minutes at this point, quickly paced up to me an grabbed my very shocked cheeks. She looked me over like a slave trader and said, "You need to be very careful... you're going to be a target for them. Yep, they're all going to hate you because of your blue eyes and light skin. You need to be on watch at all times... maybe even carry a knife..."

Silver-haired lady, thanks for your concern. I promise to wear those huge sunglasses old people wear when they get their eyes dilated and vigorously pursue tanning, all the while hiding either a machete or a katana somewhere on me at all times... you dumbass...

The moving company came on Tuesday to pack up all my things that are being shipped overseas. Now, I was given very specific instructions on what I could and could not bring, including an unbreakable weight limit of 450 lbs. I kept whittling my piles of clothes, sports equipment, textbooks and pictures down until I thought I was under the limit. Turns out, I only had 193 lbs. of crap. I could have brought so much more stuff... but I still don't have a good idea of what I really need over there. Everything else I own is in a rundown storage locker collecting dust and mildew for the next few years. I don't know why, but it always seems funny to me that everything I own... the goods and toys and comfortable chairs that everyone works so hard to acquire... everything fits comfortably into a 300 square foot space... with plenty of room left over.

Anyway, I'm staying my sister's house for a week, just until my job here is finished. This weekend, I'm headed up to Dallas to visit my buddy Scott. With any luck, we'll both get soused and play some god-awful golf.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving... sorta...

Lots of things to be thankful for... new job, decent health, lots of travel, family is doing alright, friends still haven't killed me yet, Aggies beat the hell outta' t.u. With all the changes happening around me, I'm really thankful for all the blessings that haven't even happened yet.

Turns out that the renter I had lined up for my house (signed most of the documents and everything) has backed out of the deal. I'm not too terribly upset at the news; I'm sure I can still get a renter fairly soon. I'm only upset because I planned everything on the house being rented by now. The almost-renter wanted the house by December 1st, so I got to work and started packing. My dad and I (mostly my dad) moved everything out of the house and into storage this week. Currently, my furnishings consist of a small TV, one chair, one end table, a mattress on the floor, and my upturned cardboard box/computer desk. Most of my clothing is in storage or in suitcases, and I'm ready to get out of here. Now... I'm stuck in limbo.

Spent the Thanksgiving holiday hunkered down trying to pack away the last few bits and pieces of my housewares. Spending three straight days in a vacant house with not much to do but clean gets a little old. Now I've got to take myself and the dog and go hide out in a parking lot somewhere while an agent comes by this morning to show the house. I guess I should take the time to practice my Arabic.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Take this job and shove it...

Well, absolutely no turning back now. I turned in my notice a few days ago. Thankfully, it went really smoothly, although I did have to sit through a two-hour gap meeting on filling the holes that will be left by my departure. I really didn't think that very much would need to be accomplished before I left, but my boss is looking for me to be "proactive."

So, in the next four weeks I need to complete two presentations for the EPA (done), organize all my files into catagories and save them all on a flash-drive (done), get the modem fixed on the mobile lab (done), and sit-around scratching my ass (done). Now you know why I really wanted to leave this job.

When news got around work that I was leaving, I was a little surprised by the reactions. I was thinking people would be glad that I was going overseas and taking a challenging and exciting job... the exact opposite of where I currently work. Instead, everyone here was a little morose about me leaving. I got a lot of comments ranging from "it's too hot there" to "they're all terrorists." I explained Qatar and the position, but people really weren't too thrilled about it. Either I didn't sell it good enough, or maybe they don't want to think about leaving their jobs.

Generally, the people I work with are nice and very amiable... if not very social. But most of them have seemed to fall into their routines, and do not want anything to change. You get the sense that they just want to stay under the radar, don't do anything that would make them stand out or accept extra responsibilities, and just wait for their pension to mature. You could ask anyone here how much time 'til their retirement, and most will know it to the day. I just can't spend any more days sitting at my desk or in my lab not doing anything of any worth. God I'm bored here.

Just spent a few nice nights with Patricia, who was in town for a conference. Went out and had dinner and drinks at The Gingerman, Poison Girl, Rickshaw, Onion Creek, The Hobbit, Ziggy', and everywhere else that served vegetarian food (her) and had a patio for smokers (both). Had a blast and said our goodbyes today.

No takers on the house, yet. If this thing doesn't rent, I'm gonna have to burn it down for the insurance money. All the little things and nicknacks are packed up and ready to go. Just have the garage and the bathrooms to go. I'm thinking of hiring some day laborers when moving day arrives this time. I figure a hundred bucks and a bucket of chicken is worth saving my back.

Got my tickets to Oregon for mid-December to visit my sister Kim and her family. I've never traveled to the Pacific Northwest, and am dying to see what all the hubbub is about. Hopefully, we'll head to the mountains for a day or so and hit the slopes. Kim's kids are getting a surprise when I arrive... so no hints...