To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Trying to wrap things up at work and home. I had to ask the CEO to quit calling me a traitor. "Are you going to be mean to me for the next two weeks?" I asked. No, was the answer. But he's kind of mad. I'm having to talk to him to get things properly buttoned up, and he doesn't want to look at me. It's the mindset of the owner of a mom-and-pop, which I swore I'd never work for again, that employees are to be viewed and to view themselves as faithful family retainers. Forget that crap.

My boss and I had lunch out today. There was a woman in the restaurant with a stethoscope around her neck (either pretentious, or she forgot she had it) and her white coat with name tag, etc. OK, I kind of draw the line there. If she's a doctor, then the stethoscope indicates she's been with patients, most likely sick folks. Perhaps they have coughed on her. She had to wear the coat into a restaurant where people were eating? Isn't the purpose of the coat to keep germs and bodily fluids off the doctor's person so they can be left behind at the workplace?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Okay, I won't keep you all in suspense any longer.

I was out of town on a trip with the two owners earlier this week. Got a call from the Chattanooga folks, with an offer. The money wasn't quite as much as the Florida job, which I wanted more anyway, so that made it easy.

What wasn't easy was that at this conference there were people with the company I am going to. I was introduced to them as "the best lab manager anybody has, anywhere, ever" or something like that. Felt like a worm.

After getting home, I talked with R and F, we thought about it, and determined that our minds are made up. That is, R's and my minds are made up, and F has committed to the program. So I emailed the Chattanooga folks thanking them for their generous offer and telling them that I am going elsewhere, and called the Florida people to say that I am coming. They are thrilled. Unthrilled is my boss, who knew this was in the works. I gave him a signed letter today. And I called the CEO and told him. He's not thrilled either. R's boss is so unthrilled that he's trying very hard to find me another job here in town - isn't that sweet?

So that's that. I have 2 weeks to work, and 2 weeks unemployed to try to prepare for leaving this place. R will stay to sell the house, but I need to do a lot of stuff. We've been here 17 years, after all. My future boss says he doesn't think that will give me enough time, so we'll be flexible about my start date, if need be.

In other news, F had an MRI yesterday in support of her attempt to conquer her migraines. She had a sedative, which the neurologist had prescribed to get her through it, but I still ended up holding her hands throughout. She's been taking Imitrex and other meds in an attempt to see what will knock these things out. So far no dice, except for one that did knock her headache out for a while but it knocked her out too. F woke up this morning with a really outstanding aura and tried yet another med. She says she could feel the headache trying to happen but didn't have to take a second dose for 12 hours. This could be the one. I'm also eyeing her diet - she wanted a Sonic corndog for lunch yesterday after her MRI, and R got her a salad for dinner with ham on it, so processed meat could be a trigger. We'll try to avoid that for a while.

She is on Nadolol, which is definitely helping me.

And so it goes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I need to do some laundry, but ...

Friday, June 15, 2007

So I had told the Florida person that I would let him know *something* by the end of the week, after I had gone to Chattanooga. I called today to tell him that I neither *had* to have the Chattanooga job, nor hated it, that I'm leaning toward the Florida job, but I want just a bit more time. He was very nice and said that they will all be disappointed if I don't come to Florida because apparently no one else will do.
: )
The folks in Chattanooga knew about the Florida thing and so they will not drag their feet, I told him. I'll give him a definite "yes" or "no" by the end of the next week.

Immediately afterward, the Chattanooga person called to say they were all definitely interested and thought I would be a great fit, and that he will be talking to his corporate people and calling me back with an offer early next week.

So I will have a decision to make. It's a good feeling. I told R that if I'm what you want, then you want me. "You" just probably aren't going to be in Memphis. And I have to say that I'm tired of having a lush for a state senator, a paranoid megalomaniac for a mayor, and city councilpeople who can't figure out how to pay their own utility bills but have the spending of my tax dollars. Maybe wherever I go I should just make it a point to not read any newspapers for a while.

My gut kind of says "Florida", not sure why. If they offer me bookoos of money in C then that will make a difference. You can fly nonstop one-way from Orlando to Memphis for $100. How about that.

Edited to add: In putting together references, I got hold of my former boss, Jane, who left the company we worked for rather than go to Kalamazoo, and moved to Madison, WI to work for a competitor. She asked several times if I didn't want to move to Madison. Uh, no. But thanks for asking.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Lend an ear and listen to my version
Of a really solid Tennessee excursion!"

We left for Chattanooga yesterday morning shortly after 7:00. Like an idiot, I planned to spend the night the day OF my interview. Uneventful trip, but I didn't get there till around 2:00 so didn't get to finish. So I went back and finished up this morning.

We wanted to do a little sightseeing. Lots of stuff to see and do in Chattanooga. But F was stricken with a migraine, among other things, so we scaled way back. (She has an appt with my neurologist tomorrow to do something about those.) We ended up just going to the military park on Lookout Mountain. There are lots of nice views and a fairly easy trail in the woods. We also stopped at the place where they do the Incline (didn't ride it) and were shocked at the smog. Man, it stank. It must be like that all the time b/c there's a sign to say that by city ordinance you cannot idle your car. Strange to think of ever-present smog high up on that pretty mountain.

And pretty it is. One thing Chattanooga has going for it is absolutely stunning vistas. We drove on I-24, which has some heavy duty traffic (R says they don't play and he's right) and even as we were dodging big trucks and trying not to get creamed while we found our way, we couldn't help noticing the breathtaking view, right into the city.

The job would be quite different. The job in Florida isn't too much different from what I do now. This one involves instrumentation I've never used and a lot of inorganic chemistry, not my strong point. I am not averse to learning new things, of course. I asked a million questions and I think they liked me. They are aware of the other offer and so know not to stretch this thing out too far.

So which job do I want (assuming I am offered this one)? Hard question. Yogi Berra said "if you come to a fork in the road, take it." That doesn't help me. I'm trying to kind of draw a decision tree with the pro's and con's of moving to each city, and of each job. R favors Florida (OK either way, tho) and F favors Chattanooga. Ultimately, whatever we do will work out. Of course, the Chattanooga folks may make it easy for me and not offer the job!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I have to pause in my preparations for our trip to Chattanooga tomorrow, where I will be interviewing for a job, to say ...

... the people in Florida have offered me a position! An increase in pay, and moving expenses of course.

They interviewed some other people, all of whom were technically qualified - some overqualified - but they didn't think those people would be a good fit.

So I'll talk to the people in Chattanooga, and then I'll have a decision to make.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Interesting article about tuberculosis:

Return of the White Plague

For those of you who consider tuberculosis a thing of the distant past, let me tell you a story. As a young man in 1913, Eugene O'Neill, the future playwright and winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, was confined for five months to a TB sanatorium. His family considered the initial diagnosis practically a death sentence. They had a point: Tuberculosis was then the leading cause of death for Americans ages 20 to 45. But by living under an enforced regimen of rest, fresh air and exercise, and by eating a diet rich in fat and protein, O'Neill recovered. A young woman he met and fell in love with in the sanatorium was not nearly so fortunate. Emaciated, pale and weak, she entered her last bloody round of violent coughing 18 months later. Writing about her death, O'Neill described tuberculosis as a cruel game of drawing straws, with more short straws than long ones.

I read a book, and then lent it out and didn't get it back, about the tuberculosis pandemic of the 19th century. Besides killing real-life people - the article lists a few - the disease figures in literature of the day. Anna Karenina and Portrait of a Lady come to mind. It appears that just about everyone had some degree of infection at that time. If you were lucky, your immune system stayed on top of it. The sanatoria were for people who got run down and the disease got the upper hand - they were made to rest and eat so they could knock their infections back down. It was something to be managed, like diabetes is today. Really bad cases might be treated with surgery, but remember that they didn't have the imaging we have now - no x-ray, no MRI, no CT. They could only listen with a stethoscope and try to figure out where the infection probably was. It's amazing that the human race survived.

People tend to get blase about diseases because they are treatable. Jim Henson, the Muppet guy, died of pneumonia because he wouldn't go to the doctor until he was too sick to be saved. It's rare for an otherwise healthy person to die of pneumonia these days - used to be fairly frequent before antibiotics came along. But if you don't go to the doctor when you're sick, it might as well be 1850 instead of 2007.

And don't get me started on people who think that vaccinations are worse than the diseases they prevent - yes, there are people who say that. Shocking ignorance of even recent history. My brother-in-law's girlfriend asked me once if I thought AIDS was a government experiment gone bad. I told her no, I thought we were spoiled. I turned to my MIL and invited her to tell this woman about the polio epidemic that swept through when my FIL was off in the military and she was home with two little boys and no way to go anywhere except on the city bus - and you were supposed to avoid crowds. Every time one of them sneezed she was terrified. The pediatrician would stop by her apartment on his way in to the office to check them out and tell her they did not have polio. My mother's little brother died of diphtheria as a toddler. We get immunized now and don't have to think about these things, but fear of disease used to be a way of life. It's not outside the realm of possibility that it will be again.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Just flew in from Orlando - and boy are my arms tired!

(Sorry about that. Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

I worked until lunchtime on Wednesday and then came home and packed real quick, and R took me to the airport.

Apparently something about my purse looked funny to the x-ray person b/c he called somebody over. But he pushed the tub toward me a bit and said with mock sternness, "Here are your shoes, young lady!" so I didn't feel like I was treated like a criminal. The person who came over pawed through my purse and didn't find anything scary so on I went.

Turbulence as we approached Orlando through a thunderstorm. As long as there's nothing to run into and you don't get dashed to the ground, that's really OK. (I think.) No point in fretting, anyway. Then I acquired my rental car and drove out of Orlando in a blinding cloudburst. Unfamiliar highway with about 17 lanes (exaggerating here), a rental car, and almost zero visibility. I kept thinking - where's my headache? I really think the nadolol is doing a terrific job.

I found my hotel w/o incident. All the hotels were full or close to, and I ended up in a handicap-accessible room. Apparently people in wheelchairs do not have anything they have to put down in the bathroom ... toothbrushes ... combs .... makeup. There was NOWHERE TO PUT MY STUFF except on the edge of the sink, which was narrow and not flat, and everything kept falling onto the floor. I thought that if I were in a wheelchair I would be very frustrated with this.

Spent the day from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM grilling and being grilled. I'm pretty sure they are going to make me an offer.

Then back to Orlando to find the rental car return; funny how this was not nearly as convenient as renting the thing in the first place; and back into the airport. Security level orange, or something. I hadn't had a chance to change out of my interview suit and got barked at for not putting my jacket on the bin. Just didn't think to do it. The person who barked was apologetic immediately after and kept explaining himself. Maybe I had a look on my face. I saw TSA people everywhere, looking grim. As we boarded they pulled aside several people with carry-ons that had already gone through the security check and pawed through them again.

Then my seatmate asked a couple of questions about where I'd been and why. When I told him I'd interviewed for a job as a quality manager, he responded that he had done quality for the last 30 years. We had a very satisfying chat for the 1.5 hours back to Memphis. I have his card and am to e-mail him. Never talk to strangers, ha ha. I break that rule all the time. It used to appall F.

More turbulence as we descended into Memphis. Some of the folks in the plane were kind of verbal about it. You know, I'm too claustrophobic ever to go in a submarine and caves make me nervous, but flying just does not bother me.

So in the AM I have a dr. appt. and then I will be going in to work. I am tired as a dog.

And my boss knows where I went. He'll be wondering how it was, and I will tell him that he'll probably get a call asking about me.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I have a j. i. in Florida next week. The thought of Florida was strange at first but the idea has grown on us. The area where my job would be has an extremely low crime rate, which is a huge consideration. And we love the idea of being able to day-trip to the beach.

Naturally, I have to think about clothes once again. I have a nice navy suit but it's a skirted suit, and I don't think I want to wear a skirt and heels all day long schlepping around the plant and so forth. Business casual it will be, but I don't want to dress like a Target employee, not that there's anything wrong with working for Target; it's an honorable paying job.

R and I went to the mall today and I found absolutely zilch. It's hard to express exactly what I want. Don't want black or white. Nothing fussy. Nothing old-looking. Serious but not grim. Not overly tailored. It will have to pack well, because I'm flying in the night before. I suppose I'll hit Talbot's and such tomorrow. Also have an appt for a haircut in the morning and I'll have to think about what I want.

All of this, of course, is totally beside the point of the actual interview, in which I will view the company and think what my job would be like there and whether I would like it. And if I do, how to express to them that they must hire me.

: )