Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bummer news

I got a call late this morning from Florida. I did not get the AAA job in the Carrollwood office. They ended up having two more internal people apply after I interviewed for the position. She hired one of them and that office already had too many travel agents in their office, so it did not open up another position. Robi also told me one of the area offices was closing so that is why so many internal people were applying all of a sudden. She also told me she believed the Brandon, Leesburg and Winterhaven offices already hired or offered the job to internal applicants.

Back at it again ......................................

Another Short Update

Still in wait-mode; no word on anything. We keep plugging along with the basement project, getting the two largest areas all painted up, cleaned, swept, mopped and the floor touched up from various injuries it suffered during all the work on the walls. That will be dry enough by morning for us to start setting up furniture. The first challenge will be a king-sized water bed that is in a bajillion pieces and no one entirely sure how they all go together or even if all the pieces in the pile are actually part of the water bed. This could be fun. The plan is to set it up and see about getting a regular replacement mattress for it. There is a bladder and heater in the parts pile, but the heater looks... um... dubious is probably the kindest way to say it, and the bladder has duct tape on it which I take as a sign of a less-than-perfect record for the bladder holding its water (so to speak). Besides, I've tried sleeping on water beds and basically hate them. But in any case, that is the main challenge for tomorrow.

I also need to get our main computer system set up. It's been in a box since leaving Arizona and I've fallen very far behind in keeping track of our spending and where we are with our various bank accounts. As you can imagine, that kind of stuff is a little important when your income is zero. It will also give us a place to watch movies without annoying Debbie's mom too much, access to music, movies, etc. We still don't have high-speed internet access, so I won't be able to do several other things that I really need to do, but it will be a first step.

That's about it for now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And So On and So Forth

Same ol' routine over the weekend. But there is light at the end of the tunnel; we should be able to call at least one room completely done by the time we stop working tomorrow evening. If we really move fast and can stick with it, we may even have two.

Still on hold on the job front; should know something by the end of the week, but we've heard all that before. Blah, blah. Like I posted on Facebook; it has now taken AAA Florida six times longer to fill a travel agent position that it took the Catholic Church to elect a new pope. There is something seriously wrong down there.

Well, lightening is moving in, so I need to shut down.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sons of Martha

This came up in a discussion on another site. I've posted it before, but it's been a while:

The Sons of Martha

Rudyard Kipling 1907
The sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited
that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the
careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she
was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without
end, reprieve, or rest.
It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and
cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that
the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care
to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by
land and main.

They say to mountains, "Be ye removed." They say to
the lesser floods, "Be dry."
Under their rods are the rocks reproved-they are not
afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit-then is the
bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly
sleeping and unaware.
They finger death at their gloves' end where they piece
and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry
behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into
his terrible stall,
And hale him forth a haltered steer, and goad and turn
him till evenfall.
To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till
death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden - under the
earthline their altars are-
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to
restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again
at a city's drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a
little before the nuts work loose.
They do not teach that His Pity allows them to drop
their job when they dam'-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark
and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren's
day may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path
more fair or flat -
Lo, it is black already with blood some Son of Martha
spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness
to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their
common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessed - they
know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessed, and for
them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the Feet - they hear the Word - they see
how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and - the
Lord He lays it on Martha's Sons!

We didn't get any answers, but there is still hope for later in October. Blah, blah, blah.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back in Florida

We are just outside of Tampa lounging in a Best Western and enjoying the benefits of high speed internet. Ahhhh, the luxury.

More job stuff and hunting around looking at housing just in case a miracle occurs and someone puts actual money on the table.

More later; right now the pizza place in the hotel is calling to us gently and lovingly....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shell Game

Here is a good example of how to contradict yourself. It is also a good example of why no one should take financial advice from cable news shows. As if you needed another one after the last 18 months. Anyway:
Can I count on Social Security to be there?

You can. Despite what you may hear about the system going broke, the funds from workers' payroll taxes will cover all retirees' payments until 2016 even if no changes are made to the current program. After that the Social Security Administration can cover full benefits until 2037 by cashing in its Treasury bonds from the Social Security trust fund. And when the bonds run out, income from payroll taxes would be enough to cover about 75% of payments for decades.

Let's translate this. I have a $1,000 "surplus" in my wallet because the rent isn't due until the end of the month. I take that $1,000 out of my wallet, put it in my left front pocket, and place a piece of paper in my wallet with "I owe me $1,000" written on it. Then I head down to the local Best Buy, take the $1,000 "surplus" out of my pocket and buy one of those cool new LED flatscreen TV's. When Debbie demands to know how I plan to pay the rent in two weeks, I proudly pull the piece of paper out of my wallet and declare that she has no need to worry; we'll pay the rent by cashing in the bonds in our trust fund!!

We all know how you can tell a politician is lying. That includes their puppets at CNN as well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Living Off-Line

Having limited internet time combined with dial-up has curtailed on-line living for now. Other than checking e-mail and skimming through Facebook posts a couple times a day, I just haven't been doing much on the internet. Which, as you have probably noticed, includes posting here. We have a fairly predictable routine going: get up in the morning, head down to the basement, come up around 1 or 2pm for lunch, head back down until 6 or 7pm, dinner, veg in front of the idiot box, bed. Rinse and repeat. Progress in the basement is slow but steady. One of the large areas is ready for primer and paint, and I expect the second large area to be the same by this weekend. We'll likely finish those two areas completely before starting on the final two small rooms.

Attempts to get DSL have hit a snag. Namely, Megapath simply refuses to send a contract. I love companies that waste my time. As it turns out, it may be a good thing. Nothing definite yet, but it looks like my updated prediction was almost spot on. We just finished hauling everything into the basement and... well... lets just say that fingers are crossed. Toes are crossed. Legs are crossed. Of course that last one probably has more to do with the 2-litre of Diet Coke I just polished off.

Anyway, that's it for now. Maybe after this week, I can get back to a sort-of normal internet routine. But for now, bed time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Night Symphony

I love the sounds here at night. Tonight I woke up around 3am and after getting a drink and using the facilities, I tried to go back to bed. The bedroom was warm so I opened our window. The coolness came in along with the cricket symphony. It is so neat to listen to after not hearing it for awhile. (Of course, my mind starting wandering and I couldn't go back to sleep -- so hear I am online still at 4am!)

Ric has been steadily plugging away at the basement work. I have been helping on and off. When he is stripping the drywall, I usually have not been helping. I'm afraid I would somehow dig the scraper into the drywall and make a bigger disaster. He finished up the "bedroom" Sunday night and should be able to start taping and mudding now. We did carry all the big plastic bins from the garage to the basement Sunday also. This week we plan on getting the garage emptied out enough that Mom can put her car back in it. When it comes time to move the big furniture, Ric plans on calling on a couple of his cousins that are in the area to help us. (Thank goodness!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Basement update

The floor is completely painted and the cement block walls are primed. Yeah! Ric is getting the walls ready for drywall taping/mudding and more in the room we will use as a bedroom. We bought the drywall mud and tape and some primer to get started.

Saturday we are taking part of the day to go to the Frost family reunion in Harrison (MI). Then if we fill like it, we can start hauling our stuff from the garage to the basement since the floor paint will be "cured." (Probably won't get to that until Sunday and next week!) We have to leave some areas cleared out for the plumber dude to have access to and then when he is all done, we can get the rest of the basement organized better.

Job update

No news yet on the job front. I called around today to the Florida and Alabama travel agent possibilities and things are back on hold for hiring right now (or as one person said -- internal things). I left messages for two people that have not called me back yet. One of these is the person that emailed me yesterday to ask if I had heard from anyone. Hmmmm... wonder what that means? Guess I have to wait to find out from her. She didn't return my call today or email back. More updates later.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Short Update

Not much going on here because we've been busy working on the basement over in the real world.

And because doing anything over dial-up sucks.

Anyway. The basement floor is completely painted and looks pretty good if we do say so ourselves. We expect a huge improvement in the air quality of the house now that several decades of dirt, firewood debris, ashes and soot have either been cleaned up or permanently sealed under a coat of paint. We started sealing the block walls today and should finish that up tomorrow. Then we move on to drywall repair while we give the floor its seven-day curing time. Then we try to make a living space for ourselves.

No news on the job front. Prospective employers continue to be idiots, asking when we plan to move. Our answer is always the same: as soon as you put a job offer on the table. Do that, and we can be available in a matter of days to start work. But if you think we are moving across the country purely on spec, you're even dumber than I already think you are.

Tuesday, I should be able to start in earnest on getting some sort of high-speed connectivity out here. It's pretty much down to DSL as a first choice, if someone can get it to work this far from the switch (the last time AT&T tried, they couldn't, but another company claims they can); cellular second, if we can get decent signal (definitely will need an external antenna with a signal amplifier inside the house); and satellite bringing up the rear as a last resort. With some luck, I'll accomplish all that in a week and we'll have a "real" internet connection. To paraphrase a popular saying from the 1970's: once you've had high speed, you never go back.

That is pretty much it. We've been taking photos of our work, but I think I'll wait on uploading them until we have a faster way of doing it, even if that means grabbing the laptop and heading out war-driving. Until then, expect only sporadic updates.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

August Stats

This month, visits were down (184) mostly because our posting was sporadic (only 29 posts for the entire month). Nothing really surprising on the OS front: Windows XP continues to dominate (66.8%), Vista is in a distant second place (19.6%) and Mac in an even-more-distant third (5.4%). The remainder (8.2%) were various oddballs including some Windows 2000 and Windows NT.

On the browser front, Firefox and MSIE continue to duke it out. Combining the various versions gives a dead heat of 43.4% for Firefox vs. 44% for MSIE. It's been a while since I took Stats, but given that a single visit this months counts for over a half percent, I think the difference is well below the level of significance. Chrome edged out Safari 4.3% to 3.3% and the remaining 5% was the usual odd assortment.

Interesting to note that MSIE 6 took a header off a cliff, and only Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 made an appearance this month. MSIE 8 still lags badly behind MSIE 7, and Firefox 3.5 just barely edged past 3.0. Not sure why people are so reluctant to change; I've used IE 8 and FF 3.5 and both are significant improvements over their predecessors.

OK; enough of boring the audience. I need to do some internet stuff for Debbie.

2,053 Miles

Total mileage on the moving van when we turned it in was 2,053, which makes the daily average 513.25 miles over the four days of driving. It was mostly easy driving; traffic was light even in the larger cities we hit, weather was perfect, and no mechanical problems. Not that either of us is looking forward to doing it again real soon, but it could have been a lot worse. Like driving all our stuff out to Arizona through ice storms so bad, entire states were declared disaster areas.

Obviously, if the truck has been turned in, we got all our stuff out of it. For now, it's heaped up in Debbie's mom's garage. We were going to try to lure some strong backs and weak minds out here with promises of food, but we decided to wait on that until we are actually moving everything into the basement. We decided that it didn't make sense to move a bunch of stuff down there in our own way, so we are holding off until the floor and walls are painted and cured before we haul everything down there. That will also give a bit of time for some of the job leads to maybe call us before all our stuff is too inaccessible.

Speaking of which, I've been saying for weeks that the phone would ring with a job offer exactly twenty minutes after we unloaded the last bin off the truck. That didn't happen. I am now officially changing my prediction (hey, if the dork "financial analysts" on all the news networks can do it, so can I...): Twenty minutes after we carry the last bin into the basement, the phone will ring with a job offer.

That's it for now.