Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's on like Donkey Kong

Well, it's official. We are planning to thru hike the AT this summer.

J handed in his resignation letter yesterday. Today he told his rec committee. Tomorrow he tells the seniors. His last day is May 13. We will start hiking June 6.

It's both sad, because J loves his job and the town he works for, but exciting, because this has been our dream for a long time.

It's a blank slate from here on out and we are ready.

More details to come ...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Week 42 of Unemployment

Busy week again, which included J getting a root canal and an interview on Monday for me. This was for a contract writing project that would start immediately and last about a month. Perfect! The subject matter is Medicare. Did I just make you vomit in your mouth? Sorry! But I love writing about health policy, Medicare, etc.

The interview went very well, and the next day they asked for my references. On Friday, they called my references. I'm trying not to get my hopes up high, but how sweet would this be ...

We are currently waiting for Uncle SlickG to arrive for a visit. And when I say visit, I mean he and J are going to a few concerts (of course). As for me, I have 2 scrapbooking get-togethers this weekend. J loves his concerts and I love my scrapbooking. It all works out. When J asks me if I want to go to this and that concert, I say, "do you want to go scrapbooking with me?"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy First Day of Spring??

In true New England fashion, most of our snow melted last week and this weekend, and then we get a late-spring snowstorm today. I think it will only amount to a few inches and the hope is that warmish temps return and melt it down.

P. to the S.
Town meeting was only 5 hours long on Saturday and NO ONE said boo to J's budget. He actually got an applause because one of the Selectmen recognized one way he decreased it (making summer camp self-sufficient). What a complete 180 from our first town meeting experience in 2008.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week 41 of Unemployment

Awhile back, probably somewhere around week 26 of unemployment, I resigned to the fact that my roses were just not blooming. Not literal roses, silly, but the seeds I planted in my job hunting. I wasn't even getting rejection letters. I was just not hearing back at all. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "how rude!"

Then I had a few interviews in 2011.

Cue choir of angels

The outcomes were unsuccessful, for the most part, but they were definitely a good ego booster.

But at this point, I figure we are so close to making the trail trip a reality, it's just bad timing for new prospects (although I am still sending out resumes nonetheless).

So of course I have another interview lined up Monday for a contract project.

Bamboozling, isn't it? The universe is, indeed, cruel. I'm not saying the interview will go well and I will score a new client, but it just seems awfully strange that as soon as I give up on the job search, the roses start blooming.

Again, this week was fulfilling. I had another magazine assignment and got to interview a really neat man. Also, J's town meeting is tomorrow. Town meeting used to be a thorn in our side because J's budget was always uncertain. But now I love town meeting because I take the minutes and get paid for it. Last year, the meeting was close to 9 hours. Doubtful this year, but here's hoping ...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Could the Mister give us the plague?

There's a new study out from the CDC that says there's a risk of transmission of some life-threatening diseases when your pets share your bed. You know, diseases like the plague, Chagas disease and rabies.

Things that make you go Hmmm.

Mr. McKinley tends to sleep in between J and I, head on pillow, under covers, the whole nine yards.

He's lucky we love him so much and wouldn't ever think of banning him from the bed (before you freak out, know the risk is quite small among healthy pets). And we're lucky he's getting his rabies vaccine on Thursday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Mini Tour of the Upper Valley

You wouldn't know the first day of spring is in less than 10 days here. Sure, there are patches of grass in some places and we reverted to daylight savings time starting today to give us more hours of sunlight, but we still have a crapload of snow on the ground.

On Saturday, J & I headed to the Upper Valley to visit our friends and explore some parts we haven't been.

First, we snowshoed up Signal Hill in Lebanon. There were a lot of blowdowns on the trail, but it was a pretty nice hike with a great view at the top of Vermont and even Killington in the distance.
This is how the whole hike went ... boys waaaay in front, girls waaaay behind.
We made a pitstop at the King Arthur Flour store, where I wanted to buy so many baking items, but resisted the urge! Our last stop was to the Norwich Inn for some beer sampling and grub. J & I had a goal to hit all the Vermont breweries before leaving this area. Almost 4 years later, we are up to 10, but sadly I don't think we'll hit all 15 or so.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Week 40 of Unemployment

First things first, my second interview went great. It's hard to tell where they are in the hiring process. I was interviewing with 3 people who I would potentially work with, but they are not making the final decision. And when I asked questions about the status, they had no idea. The one guy did comment that the company is infamous for taking a really long time in the hiring process. I was almost tempted to ask if they could take a little longer, like wait and hire me in January ...

I do still like the job and what it would do for my career, but I like the trail more of course. I'm really not thinking about having to make a decision because there is no offer. We'll just leave it at that for now. I had a good second interview.

I also visited the unemployment office a few times this week to get my second wave of benefits rolling. While they are grateful I have contract work and am not always reliant on UE, they are confused by it, so it took some work to reapply. Their system is not easy to navigate when you are a contractor. Anyways, next week, I am starting to collect for the second 26 weeks of benefits.

The rest of my week was busy with contract work (finished up my newest project!) and volunteering. One of J's seniors turned 90 and he hosted a big birthday party for her. It was a smashing success and this woman is pretty amazing. She still drives, dances and works out. I really don't want to live to be 90 (let alone much older than 60ish), but if I do, I sure hope I have her energy!

And to end, J had someone take a picture of him at his concert in the big bad city of Boston last week. Because he went through the trouble of getting the picture, I have to put it up. Happy now J?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Learning to Cook Gourmet Meals

This weekend was pretty boring. Aside from J's concerts (BTW, he got to Boston with no problems tonight!), we didn't have much going on. We just did some errands and more AT planning.

But, a few weeks ago, we did something really fun and I forgot to mention it. We took a couples cooking class!!!This was an anniversary gift from my parents from a year ago! The class takes place every month with a different menu. We signed up twice for menus we liked, and twice, there weren't enough people. But we finally got to go and it was well worth the wait.

Our class was full (12 couples or so), which meant we didn't get to do as much hands-on cooking as we wanted and expected, but we learned a lot by the demonstrations. And the food was delicious!I just pulled out the recipe for orange chocolate pound cake we learned and will be trying it out in the near future. Nom, yum, num. Must fatten up before the trail!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Week 39 of Unemployment

Not a bad week work-wise for me again. I like the new project I'm working on and if all goes well, I'll have it completed by next week.

And good news for the nation. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.9%, the lowest in nearly 2 years. Not sure what that means since everyone I know who was unemployed is still unemployed ...

I also started planning out our mail drops for the AT. That part of the planning process is driving me bonkers. For those who are not AT-saavy, thru hikers often send themselves food packages on the trail, mainly for spots where there are no good grocery stores to resupply. I am just trying to figure out where to do these mail drops. While the guide book and AT community is very helpful, I am still indecisive. I just don't want us to be restricted by the post office hours (there's always a chance you will hike into town on Saturday at 1pm right after the post office closes and have to wait until Monday morning to pick up food and trek on). On the other hand, I don't want us to starve because the resupply store only has very boring choices, like ramen. Decisions, decisions.

As for the unemployment front, next week is a big week. My UE benefits run out (note that I made my 26 weeks of eligible benefits last through week 40!), so I am going into the office to apply for an extension. I am fairly confident I can receive another 26 weeks, but you never know!

Another big event is that I have a second interview for that local, full-time job I mentioned earlier this year. At first, I wasn't even going to accept the interview because I didn't want to lead them on, but Mama Fashion talked some sense into me. Yes, we are 99.9% sure we are doing the trail, but there is no actual offer on the table. This is merely another chance for the company to get to know me better and for me to get to know them better. They are big on reviewing old resumes they have on file, so there's that possibility. And, honestly, you never know how long they may take to hire for this position. For Pete's sake, I first applied for this job back in November! Anyways, I will give you an update next week, of course.

Y'all have a good weekend. J has 2 concerts lined up for this weekend, so he is a very happy camper. Except that they are in Boston. We went over the map several thousand times, but I still think if he doesn't get lost, it will be a miracle.
UPDATE: J got lost for more than an hour and explored just about every nook and cranny of Boston. I consider that an accomplishment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From 27 inches to 13 inches to 32 inches

I know I already said our 27-inch flat-screen TV kicked the bucket, but J wanted to give it one more try. My husband is quite handy, but his resume stops when it comes to electronics.Now it's safe to say the TV is 100% a goner.

But, we lucked out. We visited J's dad this weekend and he had a spare TV they weren't using! This TV is ginormous, especially since our living room is pretty small and we went from 13 to 32 inches. And let me add, this TV was NOT FUN TO BRING UP THE STAIRS. NOT FUN AT ALL. Plus, J made me wear my skort! Kidding ...