Signing bonuses are a mythical creature, the great white whale of an MBA students' motivation. This mysterious monetary incentive is the carrot that keeps them going and the teaser for the lifestyle to which many aspire. I must sadly admit I was not immune to this tactic, and over the past 30 months my bonus was going to cover, at one time or another, the following: a plasma display of ludicrous proportion, dubs for the truck, a trip around the world, a wooden canoe, a Chris Craft Speedster, a naming gift to undergrad alma mater, an endowed scholarship at the high school from which I graduated, a down-payment on a house, a Cadillac, season football tickets, Ben Folds playing our wedding, trips to visit every person whose address we have, and dinner at Ann Arbor's venerable Gandy Dancer. Instead of all that we blew what was left on a single frivolous purchase, which arrived last night via UPS. Rollerblades. Two pairs; his and hers high-performance recreation inline skates. We were too tired to even use them, plus, symbolically, how could we?
Now a long weekend, albeit a long weekend that marks the beginning of a long uninterrupted stretch of normal weekends. We have no big plans, really… perhaps a fair or faire or library, but certainly a neighborhood party and laundry and unpacking.
Finally, this. It is a big day tomorrow. It is the 201st straight game over 100k at Michigan Stadium. It is the first game in a season full of promise. It is the beginning of college football season. It is the prelude of autumn Saturdays. It is why a big fan feels it when James Earle Jones says on the admissions video 'and in fall, there is Big Ten football.' It is why we say GO BLUE.
Last night was like a real night in our house, except with the make-believe assumption that we are both avid collectors of used moving supplies. Jenelle got her hair colored after work (and now is looking like the cool teacher you were never lucky enough to have in your schedule) and when she got home we had stir fry and wine at the table and it was great.
After dinner we retired to the loft. This transition was exactly as I'd imagined: do the dishes, clean up, lock doors, adjust A/C, turn off lights, and head upstairs. It was quiet and comfortable up there, with our favorite things. We put the books that mean the most into shelves Bill made to our design. Ollie lay down on the rail, one leg hanging into the space below as if he were Huck Finn on the Mississippi, and surveyed the whole scene. We found Jerree Small and listened while we worked, and it just felt like the coziest, best place we could possibly be.
We're back to not having internet at home, because we moved into the house over the weekend. Closing was Friday, which went smoothly. The builders gave us a 5-gallon buck full of goodies, which we augmented with a frozen pizza for dinner in the house. We ate on the stairs and brought Oliver to survey his new turf.
Saturday we didn't do much at the house; the fridge came in the morning and we plugged it in and got the icemaker going, but left shortly after that for a day of errands. We returned later with a hose to water the shrubs and called that a day.
Sunday was supposed to be a lazy old day, but instead we got a call Friday wondering if we'd like our stuff on Sunday… YES, we would. A crew of four hauled all of our stuff from the van to the house in under three hours and left us with a whole afternoon to try to unpack our way into the kitchen. We had Subway on our deck, chairs, and tables and then dove in. A radio surfaced relatively early and the fridge had cold water in its door for us, which helped keep the pace up. By the time we went to bed we could walk through the kitchen, sit on both sofas, and find everything needed for a frozen pizza dinner.
The workweek has slowed my contribution to house organizing, though Jenelle plowed ahead on Monday. She weeded and watered and set up our first pass at a loft office. We've also been opening gifts continuously and loving finding places for shiny new _______s and ______ _______s. Work started for her today, though, ending the joys of uninterrupted unpacking. With some luck and continued evening diligence we'll have things sorted soon and then it will be fall and time to paint and make kebabs on the grill.
Once more we are lounging around on the eve of a momentous occasion that doesn't start until the afternoon. Last time it was our wedding week, this time it's our house. We won't have any furniture until Monday, which means that we're going to be camping until then, but we're still excited to be there. We've got a couple of frozen pizzas, some tater tots, and a few spare rolls of TP - perfect for a weekend of chasing Ollie around his new stomping grounds and watering the lawn with an as-yet unpurchased hose and nozzle. Speaking of gato, he got a bath tonight to be looking his sharpest for tomorrow's excitement and that was pretty much our excitement for the evening.
posted at 9:18 PM - comments
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Today's twin topics: 1) Knoll swag and 2) living in a hotel. First, Knoll swag: I 'won' a Jellyfish laptop holder today, though I suspect everybody who entered the 'lottery' was a 'winner.' Regardless, this is a cool high-style product. We were also the lucky winners - high bidders, actually - of two mahogany-stained bookshelves which are very, very nice and were very, very reasonable. It's fun to have products at home that came from the place where you work, especially when that place emphasizes quality and style as its key dynamic variables.
On living in a hotel, I should preface by saying we have it good. We have a suite in a pretty nice hotel in a professional neighborhood. Even in this nice hotel, though, there are constant comings and goings at all hours. The adjacent property is a ConWay distribution center. The walls are thin and the air conditioner is in our unit with the compressor below our window. At breakfast and dinner there are, invariably, loud families on vacation, which is great... just not in our makeshift living room. We are ready to move out next Monday morning.
Relatively slow day at work, though watching Endeavour glide home was a highlight. I'm also mentally kicking around ideas for a smaller side project at work to smooth my workload, perhaps something green?
Clearly blogging was not a priority this week. Instead we focused energy on the last of our wedding details and the last of our impending house details. Friday was our walk-through at the house, which went really well and got us super excited. That evening, with my first full-time paychecks in 36 months resting in the Macungie Financial Center, we went to the yuppie mall (according to wiki) aka The Promenade at Saucon Valley for Thai food and a movie. That was the plan, anyway, but we wound up having Red Robin and a movie - Superbad. It was juvenile, crass, and hilarious, which was just what we needed to destress heading into a weekend of waiting.
Saturday we did a lot of errands, found a great ski shop sale and a refridgerator. The evening found us back at SRC for a community picnic... we ate some pulled pork and made friends with some neighbors. We've got our first gathering set up already - a Labor Day cookout at our place. Sweet.
Sunday we had a bit of malaise over our waiting for the house and so we got into the car for a trip to the Poconos. I wish we had a greater purpose for going, but really we went because Jenelle and I both needed a few additional pairs of work pants and there is better shopping there. This hurts me deeply, but there will be other weekends for trips to the Poconos for outdoor activities and cultural activities and color tours and canoe trips. For now we just needed work clothes and to get out of the hotel room.
We have been married one month. We celebrated by me going to work and Jenelle doing pre-employment chores. In the evening we watched an enlightening program about the St. Lawrence/Welland canal system and then headed out on an ill-fated trip to print pictures that turned into a well-fated trip to Barnes & Noble for books to inspire the soon-to-be homeowners in us.
posted at 10:31 PM - comments
Monday, August 13, 2007
Another fun weekend, this, even with almost 20 hours in the Vibe taking up most of it. The occasion was the wedding of our b-school friend Jen and our new Section 9 friend Mike in Birmingham.
We got into town on Saturday morning with time to window shop and have Cheeburger for lunch. Before we even knew it, though, it was time to get formalized for the wedding. Jen really wanted a black tie wedding and we were excited to be a part of it; the ceremony was held in Christ Church Cranbrook, which is essentially a cathedral. The service was beautiful, perhaps enhanced by dozens of men in tuxedos and an evening start time.
The reception was also formal and classy - filet mignon and potato and onion flan served at nearly 10 followed by a fun Motown band to kick it into the evening and ice cream/Kahlua shots served with cake. It quickly turned into the latest wedding we've been to, winding down at 1:30, which was all too soon for us... with dancing, friends from Ross, and the posh surroundings of the West Bloomfield Country Club we could have stayed all night.
posted at 10:11 PM - comments
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Midweek already; things are starting to get organically busy at work and at home we're into something of a Sundowner free dinner/Scrabble/exercise/wedding wrap-up routine. Tonight we went on a little Fogelsville-Macungie-Trexlertown triangle cruise that may have included a stop at 5815 to peer in the windows and congratulate ourselves on a great flooring decision - that doesn't make another two weeks of Staybridge Suites easier to swallow.
Shuttle Endeavour lifted into space tonight, arcing out over Florida the way it did so many years ago when I saw it from the hood of the Lumina in front of my rental hole in Sarasota. Tonight it barely made the news. That saddens me. We are half of the nations who routinely send people to space, but we are way more concerned about rain in New York than a handful of our brightest and bravest who are now in space, our only frontier, doing the things that everyone down here in the rain can't even comprehend. I predict that in a few hundred years we might not remember the rain, but we'll remember the space station and the space program and be glad we did it. This is tragedy of the commons inverted and I love it.
It was our first weekend (back) in the Lehigh Valley, so we kicked things off with the usual... fireworks display at local car festival, great Celtic bluegrass band at Musikfest and free tickets to see the King of the Blues. Outside of that we wrote some thank-you notes, did a little preemptive appliance shopping, and crashed pretty hard on our first even remotely lazy days since the Fourth of July.
My boss was back today after the big BoD meeting in Muskegon. He seemed pleased to have me 'on board' and we got up to speed. I'm also learning how to engage in idle conversation with two execs who stop by your desk: be very direct (ie don't mention that you enjoyed the festival or that your tickets were awarded by Mack truck who didn't use their sponsor's allotment, just say that you went to the BB King concert and it was good), make sure you are ready to speak about any subject with authority or remain quiet, and for heaven's sake don't forget to wear your wedding ring if you just got married.
My first 60% of a week as an MBA is in the books. I've already made some headway and feel like I'm ahead of expectations. Plus, just now while Jenelle was on the phone I sent my first after-hours, off-the-clock Blackberry work message. If nothing else, my morale is still much higher than the guy who did this to a hardware store in Manistique:
We wouldn't have found this except that we were detoured through the lovely little hamlet on our way south after wedding stuff.
Tonight we also made it our quest to preview appliances. Our house is new and complete, except for fridge, washer, and dryer, and giant, wide-screen plasma display for to watch Big Ten sports on, so we are in the pre-planning mode for those purchases. We've got some time but really, once we're into the house, we'd like to have cold food.
Jenelle and I have taken to playing a round of Scrabble during our little 'Sundowner Hour' meal downstairs. Last night we played 9-tile and I won pretty handily. Tonight we played 7-tile and she brought her A game and took me out like yesterday's breakfast sausage carton. It's been fun. Plus, what else do we have to do while we're eating no-cost dinner?
We're staging the announcement of our wedding pictures, which bodes well for browncow readers, who are in the second stage. The details are thus: head to williamsonweddings.com (note the photo on the homepage woop woop!), navigate to "Client Review," where you should click on our names, and enter our last name as the password. (A word of warning re: printing; if you decide your life cannot proceed without a printed photo from our wedding, email me and I'll email you back the file you request, thus you won't have to print from this site which is four-star pricey.)
My second day at work was a little more substantive in terms of my load planning/auto load planning/load densification project. I've started to hear peoples' frustrations and understand best and worst case outcomes, build a mental process map, and run into breaks in my own understanding. I suppose that is progress.
Today was my first day (back) at work. It was a pretty uneventful day, really, though nice to see some familiar faces. My workspace is nice, but perhaps a little lonely in a corner along a walkway with high traffic. Soon a few files will be out and I'll have room for a big whiteboard and a couple of side chairs - that'll be a good day. There was also the usual password confusion and delay getting this and that, but all was sorted by day's end and I'd started digging into my first project: Auto Load Planning. These fact-finding exploration days of projects can be frustrating until I have the vocabulary figured out and something of a process map in mind. I'm looking forward to the days a few weeks from now when people come to my desk to compare notes and see what I think, as they did last summer, rather than my wondering if questions are making any sense or if they have been rendered irrelevant by slightly improper vernacular.
posted at 8:31 PM - comments