Quote of the Day

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.” — Lawrence M. Krauss

Two Months

It’s been a little over two months since Ben and I arrived in Denver, and it’s been quite a journey.

I was reading back through old posts last night and it made me realize just how much has happened.  And now—finally—we are only weeks away from being permanently settled.  I can only hope the next three weeks pass as quickly as the last three.

As I mentioned in my last post, work is going well. I’m starting to wrap my head around the way things are set up there, what applications are needed for each department, and what tricks are needed to ensure they’re installed properly.  A lot of this has been very trial-and-error, because the person who I’ve replaced left without leaving much in the way of documentation.  I even had to dig deep into my memory banks and remember how to set up Procomm Plus (yes, Procomm Plus) so that it opens in a specific mode to a specific directory item. (That scored points with my boss, as it had been something he’d been hoping could be set up so make things simpler for the users.)

I’m also reaching the point that I know the major streets well enough that I don’t automatically panic if I take a wrong turn or get lost.

Driving the I-25 still works my last nerve, but I’m going to have to get used to it because it’s half my daily commute and will remain so even after we’re moved. I dread to think of what it will be like when the first snow falls.

Prior to our move we’ve started exploring our new neighborhood, and we’re liking what we’re finding. With Ben having to be at school an hour earlier than he had been when classes actually begin next week, this location will definitely help by cutting an hour off his commute.

There’s an Einstein’s directly across the street from the apartment, and a Starbucks a block away.  We’re even close to a Super Target for grocery shopping.  That’s a good thing because the Kroger brand here, King’s Sooper, is a big pile of suck.

All in all, I think we’re going to be happy with our apartment decision.

Yes, I'm Still Alive

I’m sure many of you were about ready to send out search parties.

Anyhow, work is going well. I’m actually working at a place that does not make me dread Sunday evenings.  And—dare I say it—I actually kind of look forward to going to work in the morning.  Or maybe it’s just because it gets me out of that hotel room.

Kidding.

Though this was initially presented to me as a 30-60 day contract, I fully expect it to end up with a permanent job offer.  Last week the I.T. Director asked me if I thought I’d be open to making this into something more “long term,” and the recruiter who placed me there called Friday afternoon and told me that the company “loved me.”

While there is the possibility that this gig will not go permanent, the fact that I’m not acting as an addition to the staff, but rather as a replacement, gives me some hope that I’m not misinterpreting things here.

Speaking of long term, yesterday Ben and I started looking for an apartment.  We both fell in love with the first place we saw, but to make sure we weren’t missing out on anything, we visited two other communities.

The first place we visited is a relatively new development on Colorado Boulevard in the Cherry Creek neighborhood, about a half hour bus ride from Ben’s school and a 40 minute commute by car to my workplace. It has all the amenities we had in our place in Phoenix (washer/dryer, microwave, soaking tub, ceiling fans, off street covered parking), plus a few that we didn’t (an elevator, hardwood floors, granite countertops).

The second place we saw was a little older (built early 90s) but was undergoing renovation.  It was nice enough, but one of the first things I noticed was that the new cabinet doors in the kitchen didn’t even line up with each other and the edge of the new flooring in the bathroom was rough and uneven, making me wonder what other corners were being cut in this community. Ben wasn’t especially impressed with the place either.

The third property was very nice, and both Ben and I agreed that if we didn’t qualify for the first place this would definitely be our second choice. It was a cute, much smaller development built at approximately the same time as our place in Phoenix, but had more of a townhome feel to it.  In addition to a washer/dryer and an over-the-stove microwave in each unit like both of the other places we’d seen (an absolute must for me after having had them for the last eight years) these units also had fireplaces and individual attached garages.

Ultimately we were approved for the first place (which is awesome), but we can’t do anything about it until I get my first full paycheck and Ben receives his student loan disbursement, both of which happen the first week of September.  While we have the money now to put a hold on a place and the building currently has an apartment we would jump on in an instant (third floor on the south side of the building that faces a quiet side street), they can’t hold anything longer than ten days and that doesn’t fit our September timeline. They also have three other apartments available, but none of them are as ideal (one on the third floor that faces busy Colorado Blvd. and two on the first floor that face into the pool courtyard) as that one. Since the leasing agent was really trying to get us to commit to one of these units and potential renters weren’t exactly busting down the door to get in while we were there yesterday, this leads me to believe they’ve been on the market for a while and will hopefully remain that way for at least another three weeks.  In any case, I’m sure there will be something available and acceptable to both of us when the time comes for us to lay the money down.

Be Careful What You Ask For

…because you may get it!

I like my new job.  It reminds me a lot of the health plan where I worked for the last two years.  The environment is very similar, although about a third smaller. Ironically, my duties here however, will be much expanded from what I’d been doing in Phoenix.

In addition to the usual desktop stuff, I’m also assisting the one very overworked I.T. manager with systems support.  I’m in a little over my head here, but he understands this and is more than willing to do a little hand holding until I get up to speed. The systems side of things is also something I wanted to get into, but in nearly every company I’ve worked for there has been very definite dividing line between systems and desktop. But not here.

There’s no help desk; trouble calls come in by email and phone.  There was a long list of outstanding issues when I arrived this morning, and by mid-afternoon they’d all been resolved.  My supervisor was thrilled. He asked me more than once if I felt overwhelmed or if any of the calls had left me scratching my head.  I told him not at all. (Apparently the guy who I replaced not only lacked customer service skills, he was technically inept.)

There’s also no imaging solution in place, even though they’re licensed for Norton Ghost. That’s something he wants to rectify and I’m more than happy to get it set up.

It’s also a reasonable commute, located in the Denver Tech Center, about 8 miles southwest of where we’re staying; exactly where I had hoped to be working.

If things continue like they are, I fully expect that this 30-60 day contract will turn into something much more. There is a lot of work to be done, the I.T. Manager is open to new ways of doing things, and I have several solutions for issues I noted just today that I gained over the last 7 years that would work great here.

Did I mention I can wear jeans?

Touched By His Noodly Appendage

Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster and all of His Noodly Appendages, it finally happened.  I got a job.

Hopefully this will be a decent place, not requiring me to immediately reach for the abort button.  It’s healthcare related, but it’s on the insurance side of things (no hospitals involved), and it sounds more or less like what I was doing at my last position.

Speaking of my last position, I secured this gig through the same company that had placed me there those many years ago.

This is another emergency placement that supposedly has only a 30-day life expectancy, but the recruiter stressed that it could turn into something more because the client was looking for “a good fit; someone who understands the meaning of customer service.” Apparently the last person they had in there was expressing her problems with the customers to the customers, instead of sharing them among the tech staff and anonymously on blogs (cough, cough).  In addition, the paperwork I signed indicated it would last through the end of September, so even if this doesn’t go permanent, it relieves the financial pressure I’ve been feeling and will keep the wolves at bay.

Before the call came in this afternoon, I had even gone so far as to run up to our storage unit and open nearly every fucking box to find the elusive Dell laptop I had stashed away, as well as the original boxes for my camera and lenses in hopes of extracting some much needed cash via Craigslist.  Now it appears that will be unnecessary. I don’t mind parting with the Dell; I knew it would be much more difficult to let go of the camera.

Ugh.

I did not get the job at Arapahoe County like I was hoping for. “They decided to go in a different direction.”

I have the experience. I have the knowledge. Am I coming across as complete dolt in the interviews?

Thankfully I have one more definite interview lined up this week, as well as having two potentials in the mix.  Of those two, one sounds like it might be a perfect match, even better than the county job.  Still, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t chosen for that one.