I’m A Social Butterfly!

•September 7, 2007 • 2 Comments

Bet you never thought you’d hear me say that, but last night it’s how it felt. Since moving to Huntsville I’ve tried to make an effort to find people to hang out with, and I’ve actually been more successful at this than Treeva. Yeah, who’d have thunk? We’ve found a church that we like and that is looking likely to be our home church, and there are a bunch of great people there. There’s even a small group out our way that we’ve started going to, but that’s just the beginning.

See, I’ve found two other groups that deal with some of my interests. The first I found is called ‘Free The Hops’. It’s a group that is working to loosen the restrictive beer laws in Alabama, one of the last two states with draconian restrictions on beer content and packaging, as well as breweries and brewpubs. I joined this group at a benefit for Olde Towne Brewery, the only microbrewery in Alabama. Unfortunately the brewery burned down a couple weeks after we moved here, but it was an article about the fire that led me to both FTH and our church (which used to meet there).  Last week was my first FTH meeting and I met some friendly people, then last night Treeva and I met up with the group for about half an hour. I even remembered the names of several of the people I’d met. Go me!

We  could only stay there for about half an hour because we had to go meet up with my other group of new friends. I was introduced to this group by someone from church, and it’s really right up my alley. A group of gamers (people who play video games) who love Halo, called ‘The Hushed Casket’, or THX for short. Yes, X, not C. Think X=Chi, which avoids naming the group after the active ingredient in a certain illegal substance. I’d already been able to play online with these guys a couple of times, but hadn’t met them in person. Well, last night changed that. We met up with several of the guys and their wives at a local wings place and ended up spending almost three hours eating, drinking beer, and talking. It was a fabulous time and we all hit it off great. We’ve got a big LAN party coming up at the start of October that I was already planning on going to, and now I’m even more sure it’ll be excellent. Treeva’s looking forward to it as well, as the girls will be meeting up across the street to do girly things.

So there it is. Three groups of great people, and I actually initiated hanging out with two of them in one night. Yea for progress!!!

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The Silence Is Broken

•August 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on forever about not posting for a few months. Suffice to say that my plans to blog every day during my job hiatus were somehow inverted. Ah well. On with life. I’ll hit the highlights now and hopefully delve more in depth in the future.

The move to Huntsville went smoothly and we’ve begun to settle into our new apartment. After a couple of months of searching, I’ve found a job and I’ll start training on Sept. 10. Treeva and I visited several churches in the area and have finally found one that is very friendly and that seems like a good fit for us. We haven’t made a final decision yet, but hopefully we will soon.

I’m trying to break out of my usual introverted shell in order to make some friends around here, and so far things are looking hopeful. Once we moved here I found out that Alabama is one of three states that still has antiquated beer laws that keep a lot of the good quality beers from being available. Luckily, there’s a group called Free The Hops that’s working to change these laws. At a benefit for a local brewery (only one in Alabama) which burned down shortly after we moved, I joined FTH. Tonight was the monthly meeting and even though I didn’t know anyone there, I attended, met some great people, and actually had a good time.

Additionally, at church in the park this past Sunday (the church met at the brewery, cool huh?) I met a guy who told me about a local group of gamers. I was able to play some Halo 2 with them the other night, and let me tell you that it was a nice change of pace to play with mature people who didn’t quit on you or call you all sorts of names. I should get to meet a lot of them in person at a big LAN party shortly after Halo 3 comes out.

So there you have it. We’re moved, we’re assimilating into the city, and we’re making friends. More details to come.

And Then There Was One

•April 30, 2007 • 2 Comments

Tomorrow is my last day at work.

Please don’t ask me how I feel about this, as I don’t even know myself. It’s great in the sense that I’m making my big move and am stepping out in faith…seizing the opportunity to do something different with my life instead of just blindly taking things as they come day-to-day. There is a sense of sadness, although I think that most of that comes from the move overall, and not from my job. There are a few customers that I liked and will miss seeing, but I’ve had too many “good” customers that turned on me after seeing a single bug or somesuch to put a large amount of faith in the continued “goodness” of most any of them (with a few exceptions). As for people at the office, there are some who’ve been nice to me that I’m friendly with, but the only one I could possibly see staying in some sort of contact with is an old manager, but even that is doubtful. After he left our office we rarely talked, and even then it’s mainly just when he has work bring him over our way.

My last day isn’t even going to be a very typical day, so that’s another level of weirdness here. I’ve only got one stop left to take care of, with the possibility of an additional callback or two that came in over the weekend. After that it’s just a matter of getting the personal stuff out of my truck, going over next month’s tickets to make sure the transition is as smooth as I can make it, and then whatever else my boss has in mind. I figure there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be back home by lunchtime. I have no expectation for any type of goodbye party or anything of that nature. I’ve seen plenty of people leave our office under all sorts of circumstances. Some had been there a short time and others a good bit longer than me, and there’s never been much of any ceremony to those who leave, baring changes in the top-level management, and even then it isn’t much.

So this is how the world ends…with a whimper, not a bang. In ice, not in fire. With a light day where halfway through I’ll just disappear from the office.

Should be interesting.

The End Is Near…

•April 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

…and I’ve been too busy to blog about it.

I’ve got two workdays left.

Two.

That’s it.

Yeah.

It’s kinda hard to wrap my head around. Sure I’ve been saying goodbye to customers all month, but today I look at the remaining tickets and realize I only have five left, plus a couple of callbacks to deal with. Now, after I get through Monday I’ll still technically be working for the company for another month, but that’s just terminal leave and doesn’t really count. So yeah….down to two more days. All the customers that I see every month…those I like…..those I don’t like….and those I don’t care about one way or the other…..I probably won’t be seeing any of them ever again. In some cases that’s a very good thing, but not in all of them.

It’s an odd thing. I’ve been working for my company for over 3 1/2 years now, and have been running my own route for over 3 of those years. Many of those original customers are ones I’ve still got, and most of the rest I’ve had for over 2 years. While I’ve felt increasingly frustrated and unfulfilled by my job as the years have gone on, the closer I get to the end, the more those feelings fade. Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t be hitting me full-force if I had a summer full of the same old grind to look forward to, but the ending of this period of my life has already started to put a haze over the bad feelings, leaving mainly the positive ones to reflect on.

There might be less melancholy about this transition if I had made some positive steps in finding a new direction, or even if I’d made a simple phone call to start the process of finding lodging in Huntsville, but progress is slow. Now, it isn’t slow for any good reason…at least not to my mind. There’s been a fair bit of my tendency for procrastination at work, but it’s more than just that.

Moving is scary.

No duh, right? Well, as obvious a statement as that is, the reality of living it is harder than the intellectual visualization of it. Even the move we’re making, which is honestly the safest one we could possibly make (given the number of family and friends we will be in close proximity to) is making me more nervous by the day. Again, this would likely be quelled by some forward progress, but I find myself struggling to pick up a book to finish it, or even to put pencil to paper in order to start a worksheet that could help me find my direction.

Granted I’ve been pretty tired lately from a combination of busyness with work, spending more time with friends, and really sucking at getting myself to bed early, but that should be coming to an end soon. Last week I decided that my first two days after leaving work (Tues. and Wed.) will be dedicated to letting my body recover from the past few months. I will sleep as much as I need to, I won’t pressure myself to work hard all day on packing and finding direction, and I will take it easy. It’s my hope that taking that time will enable me to attack the future with a fresh vigor, making progress in several areas.

Here’s hoping it works.

A Quick Laugh

•April 17, 2007 • 1 Comment

I don’t want to get in any trouble for posting someone else’s image, so I’ll just give you a link to a comic that made me laugh quite loudly: Funny Comic (that’s totally safe for work)

It’s good to laugh.

Career Counselin’ Ain’t Easy

•April 16, 2007 • 1 Comment

Or so it would seem, based on the cost of it. Not that counseling is ever cheap, but this seems a little much. See, I’m working through my whole career search thing, and slower than I should. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel that it’s possible to have a job/career that you can enjoy and feel fulfilled and useful in. This leaves me operating from two base beliefs: 1- There’s a perfect job out there for me; 2- The one I’m in ain’t it.

I’m slowly…too slowly…working through the process of figuring out what I’d like to do once we move to Huntsville. I’ve been re-reading a book called ’48 Days to the Work You Love’ and took a “career” test that goes with it, but it was just a personality test. I’m a CS on the DISC scale….not exactly earth-shattering news and not something that really narrows down my job choices. I was then directed towards Crown ministries which mainly does financial counseling, but it turns out they’ve got a very thorough career test available, and they also made some recommendations of local career counselors. I’ve called both, with a returned call and good talk with one, and no response from the other.

The one I spoke with was very nice and we spent a half hour talking about what services he offered and how the time would be structured, and also about my situation and needs. I think that sitting down with him (on separate sides of a phone…nice work if you can get it) would do me some good, but it comes at a pretty steep price so I’m not jumping right away. As I expected to hear, part of the process of working with this guy is to take this career test thingy that Crown offers, and to then go over the results with him. Since I’d be paying for it myself either way, I decided to go ahead and take that, work through the results, and to then make the decision about seeking extra help.

It turns out that this test if pretty in-depth. I spent an hour or so working through the questions and came out with several good-sized reports as well as a couple of fairly thorough worksheets/action plans to help me get some actual use out of the pages and pages of paper that were produced. Now I’ve just got to sit down and actually work through those….and to listen to the audio files that go with. It’ll be a good process, just one that takes time.

Time. Yeah, that would be nice.

On the plus side, only 10 more days of work to go. Woohoo!!!

Boxes, Boxes, Everywhere…

•April 9, 2007 • 4 Comments

Growing up I didn’t have to worry about moving from house to house all the time. In fact, the entire time I lived at home we only moved twice, and it wasn’t a great distance either time, just a mile or so. We did have some friends who moved every year or two so I got plenty of experience with the moving process, but it was all secondhand and had no emotional aspect.

Heading off to college started me on a more turbulent path as far as residences and I quickly got the hang of tossing everything into boxes that became more generically labeled the closer to moving time it became. After a few years of that back-and-forth of my main schwag with a reserve at home, it came time to move out for good, dropping south from Alabama to Florida, getting married a few months later. That house worked for us for a year or so before moving onto my wife’s campus for another couple years. After she graduated we trekked up to Atlanta, spent two years in one apartment, then moved to another where we’ve stayed the past two years.

Obviously there are negative aspects of moving, as it’s a hassle to take everything that you own, pack it into a form that can be safely transported, then unpack it once you’re at your new destination; and I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a bit bad about the third part of that…the unpacking. In fact we’ve had a closet full of boxes that haven’t been opened since our last move, but in my defense they’re mostly books that I am really wanting to keep and put into a personal library where I can read them. Heck, after all this time the stories are new to me again.

This side of things has been keeping me busy lately as I’ve been sorting through these varied boxes, and I’m rather proud of myself for toughening up and throwing out a lot of the gathered debris from my life. I’ve gotta face facts…I’m never going to re-read my notes from Calculus 3, as if I could ever make out my chicken-scratch anyways. And even when it comes to the books I’ve been harsh. There are several stacks on the floor that are waiting for a yard sale or goodwill dropoff. Yes, it feels good to be clearing things out, both for the feeling of the fresh start and for the knowledge that it’s that much less junk that I’ll have to haul from Atlanta to Huntsville.

There is another aspect of this sorting and packing experience that I do enjoy. See, perhaps I’ve spent too much time hanging out with girls, but I have a tendency to save mementos and sentimental knick-knacks. There are some items that I run into every time I go through these boxes, but each move I have to slow down to peruse them. From high school I’ve got yearbooks and pictures. Newspapers and notes snuck during classes. Even that senior memory book that cost way too much and which I only halfway filled out because I was a super-nerd and had little connection with pop culture at the time. College brings letters between friends, journals, and sermon notes from churches in Mississippi, Alabama, and even Florida. And the pictures, you can’t forget the pictures. There are other things too…be it year books and autograph pages from elementary school or the uber-detailed schedule from a high school mission trip or even my junior high journal my English teacher made us keep. Lots and lots of memories, and these are the things that I keep. Sometimes I grab Treeva and regale her with a story that she’s heard every other time we’ve moved and other times I sit in silence, remember people and places and the fun that was had. Another time I might have to laugh at myself for thinking a certain way or for obsessing over a girl that clearly had no interest in me. It’s all important because it’s all part of who I am.

I think this is why I somewhat enjoy moving. These memories in physical form aren’t things that could be easily categorized or put on display. No, they are fated to be in a box (probably the same one through ten moves the way I reuse them) for the rest of their lives. When that box is in a closet it’s easy to forget about it and the precious treasures held within, but these moves lead me to rediscover the highs and the lows of my past, and that right there can make it all worthwhile.