June 30, 2012

Just another manic Saturday

That was supposed to be the title of today's blog, but it turned out to not be quite as manic as I originally thought.

I started the day sleeping in, to be woken by a call from the refrigerator delivery guys. Superman had a very expensive month, replacing 2 hot water tanks and now a fridge. Bad blogger that I am, I didn't take pictures of the delivery. The fridge looks something like this:
 After the truck drove off, I packed up and headed out myself. I had a list of things to accomplish today.


If you remember, I talked here about my Hoka's, which were too big and uncomfortable to run in. I called the Boulder Running Company about them, got voicemail so left a message. No one ever called back, but when I came home Wednesday I found a box in my door. They sent me a replacement pair of Hoka, a size smaller. These are much more comfortable to run in. The box you see above is in the backseat of my car, outside the post office. I sent the original pair back.

From the post office, I went and filled my tank. I'm not accustomed to doing this on a weekly basis, but I guess I'll have to become accustomed. I fit the tank filling into my planned route, so I could take advantage of Fuel Perks. It's a little out of my way, but when the perks add up the savings are worth the trip.

Will you drive farther to save money on gas? I won't go to BP (no, I haven't forgiven them for the oil spill), so I'll drive farther to go to a different station. I'll also drive farther if there's enough savings involved.

Will you drive to run? I used to answer this question with a resounding NO. Why drive when I can just open my front door and go? I now have a new answer for that question, and it involves the park near where I work. I won't be running before and after work any longer, but you will find me there most Saturdays if I have any say in the matter.

This is why:
This is part of the picnic area where I normally park.
Apparently it's possible to reserve "the whole park"
At least that's what the lady who told me I couldn't park there said

Hey look! A trail!
I wonder where that goes...

It goes here

and here

and here

and here!
Overall, I ran an hour and 20 minutes. I think I covered about 6 miles. My GPS wasn't working, so I really don't know, and honestly I really don't care. It was a fantastic run! I would run until I hit a dead end in the trail, then find a landmark and make a turn. I was certain I'd get lost, but was able to find my way back no problem. There are so many more trails out there to explore! I can't wait.

After my run, I headed toward my Mom's. The orange bucket in that first photo is full of tools and stuff to lay the tile border along her counter tops. I had reserved a wet saw at the local tool rental place, but wanted to see what Home Depot charged, so stopped in there. The price was literally the same but Home Depot closes several hours later, meaning I had the chance to turn the saw back in within the 4 hour window, which costs less. However, when I went to actually RENT the saw, I discovered I've mislaid my driver's license. I gave it to the HR people to copy on my first day at work,  and somehow it never made it back into my wallet. I thought I'd left it in my scanner, but it's not there. Now I'm pretty certain it's in my clipboard/folder, which is at work. If it's not there, I am in trouble.

Even though I wasn't laying tile, I went my Mom's anyway. She had her roof replaced this past week, and the roofers left several packages of shingles in her yard. She asked me to move them into the garage, so that's what I did. Then I went home, showered, and headed back out.

I broke down and bought this:
I'm thinking "broke down" may not be the appropriate phrase  here
Then I went on a mission to find 2 inexpensive shirts I can wear to work. I went through Kohl's and Target before giving up the search. I stopped at the grocery store, then came home and harvested these:


It may not look like much, but that is the largest single day harvest I've had from my little patch of heaven. I can't wait to mash them up and spread them across a slab of bread slathered with almond butter. I'll likely have another batch like this tomorrow.

That pretty much capped off my day. I weeded and watered the garden, took care of some financial stuff, and now here I sit, telling you all about it.


June 28, 2012

Mother's Day, part 2


I have the best kids ever. I love surprise packages when I come home. So yummy, with enough to satisfy my sweet tooth for a quite a while!

Too bad I didn't generate the calorie deficit today necessary to sample them all. I decided running was not in my best interest. My lower back was stiff and sore. Turns out staying home was a good decision, as my upper back went into spasm for a while. Ibuprophen helped, after it stopped spasming. Luckily it decided it was done before I had to leave for work. The rest of the day it just popped a lot. Not sure what that's about. 

I'm back out tomorrow morning, even if it will be in the upper 80s overnight. My car said the temperature was 98 degrees when I left work. I believe it. HOT HOT HOT, and I don't have air conditioning. It's going to be an interesting couple of days here in Northeast Ohio.

June 27, 2012

Little Miss Over-Achiever Strikes Again

First, to get it out of the way, work is going well. I haven't broken anything since Monday. Even that didn't affect clients and was easily fixed. Because I apparently need something to worry about, I'm now concerned because the other two guys have processed more tickets than I have in the past 3 days. I don't know if they have solved the issues and resolved or closed the tickets. I don't know what issues they were handling (at least one of them is deliberately taking the easier tickets). What I do know is Rudy has processed about 20 tickets per day. Mike has done a total of 36. I've done 20, total.

Obviously, after only 3 days, I fail.


I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone but me, but I may have bitten off more then I can chew on the running front.

The getting up at 6:30 thing is working out fabulously. I refuse to get on the computer because I know I'll get stuck and not run, so I have half an hour to putter while I wake up. I do housework. I water my garden. I feel quite productive before I even get to work!

I love having multiple alarms on my phone. I have one set to wake up. Another for when to leave on my run. Another for the last possible minute I can hop in the shower and still get ready to leave before the final get-out-the-door-now alarm goes off. They all have fun sounds too. My time to run alarm is a superhero theme.

I've been running about 5 miles per day. I set the timer for half an hour and just go, with little more than a general direction in mind. I do have to stay in a relatively straight line. I can't take too many turns or I'll get lost when the timer goes off and I want to retrace my steps.

5 miles every day is a lot of miles, when my running calendar looks like this:


What I'm saying is, my legs are tired. I've also been struggling with that old pain in the ass issue, that literally is a pain in my ass. I run for a while, my ass starts to hurt. I walk for a while until the pain goes away. I run again, until my ass hurts. I'm doing a lot of walking right now. I'm also apparently running rather fast, considering my mph even with all that walking.

I'm working on my form, engaging my core more, which seems to help. I started stretching, rolling, and doing crunches on the stability ball after my runs this week, which also appears to be a good thing.

Go figure.

I also spent $40 on one of these:
I had a regular roller, but didn't like it and never used it. This, I like. I only wish either my thighs were smaller or this was larger. There is a larger version, but it retails for $70, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. I want one A LOT, but I just cannot justify that price tag. But I want it. I'm not sure yet which part of me will win that particular struggle.

I'm trying to be good and smart and not actually injure myself again. I decided I'm not going to run as long tomorrow, and probably Friday as well. Next week I'll start up at half an hour out again, and see how it goes. I also decided not to increase that initial outbound run time until I can do the whole run, out and back, every day for a week without walking.

It's altogether possible I'll still be attempting 5 miles a day at the end of the year.

I'm ok with that. A girl's gotta have goals, after all.


June 18, 2012

Day 1

I laughed at myself yesterday, when I had everything ready by 2:00 pm for today's first day of work. Even more wry humor at how much I packed for the day. One would think I was going on a trip or something.

I had:
    • A bag with work clothes, work shoes, make-up, hair brush, deodorant, a towel, iPhone, and plastic bags to put the iPhone in
    • A gallon container with a screw cap and wash cloth, waiting for warm water in the morning. This is what I use to clean up after my morning run
    • A bag with running clothes, a towel, running shoes, and a Clif bar. This is my "if it's raining I want dry clothes to run in after work" bag
    • Running clothes set out for first thing in the morning
    • A water bottle to carry while running, and a larger water bottle to use while at work, set out waiting to be filled
    • A filled lunch bag
    • Breakfast and coffee as prepared as I could get them, basically only needing heat to be ready

So now you know how OCD I can be. 
Today I added:
    • Shorts and a tank to do yoga in at lunch. I don't want to put my sweaty running clothes on again when I have to go back to work, and I don't want to stretch in my running shorts. They can be somewhat see-through when I bend over.
    • Yoga mat and strap

Even with all the planning, this morning was something of a cluster. Today I learned:
    • I need to wake up a good 15 minutes earlier, so I have time to eat breakfast before I leave. Eating in the car was doable, but it didn't leave enough time to digest before running.
    • Take the time to use the bathroom before heading down the path. I started looking for a place to "go" after about a quarter mile, and didn't get nearly as far as I could have because of this.
    • I am going to try baby wipes to clean up, and use the gallon of water to douse my head after my run. My hair drove me nuts today without any gel or mousse to keep it out of my eyes.
    • I do not need nearly the moisturizer Aunt Gertie does. Either that or I'm having a reaction to one of the new products I'm using on my face (Bert's Bee's Facial Towelettes + Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer). I'm breaking out, which is of course frustrating. I will probably end up with just a little bit of eyeliner and mascara before long.
    • I need a new way back to the park after work. Traffic to the freeway was horrid, and it took me half an hour to cover the distance it took me 10 minutes to travel in the morning.

I also learned the deer like the crab apple tree right near where I change.
If I'd waiting just one minute, I would have caught him (her?)
on her hind legs, knocking the crab apples down off the tree
I also learned my position is more than I originally thought. They will actually train me to be an analyst, including SQL and database training. Having that particular word "analyst" on my resume will be a good thing, as will the skill set they are teaching me. Of course, I'm still hopeful for the Cleveland Clinic position, but the only thing wrong with this one is I'm not making as much as I wanted. The benefits are actually pretty stellar. The proximity to the park is awesome.

It looks like my schedule will be 10-6 (at least that's the rumor) which could be rather nice. I'd have to rework the run schedule, and will only have before work to run. I could either leave the house for the park at 7, or leave the house for a run at 7. The former lets me run in the park, which I'm very much enjoying. The latter lets me shower before work. Both allow me to avoid rush hour traffic. I'll have to figure it out when I find out definitively what my schedule will be. As one of only 3 support staff for this particular software, they may split our hours for more coverage.

Starting at 10 would also make interviewing for the Clinic easier.

I'm liking the 2-a-day runs. Today I ran 7.5 miles (3.5 before work, 4 after) and do not feel I overdid things. I know I'll figure it out, whatever my schedule ends up being. I'm just surprised I'd rather it be earlier, so I can get my runs in.

June 16, 2012

Oh yeah!

I'd forgotten what it was like to be sore from a workout, but not in pain.

I don't know if it was the yoga I did Wednesday (and will do again today) or the massage Thursday. What I do know is I went to the park again yesterday and ran another 5 miles. Last night I was stiff and sore from running more in the past week than I've run in any week since mid-April. Also NOTHING HURTS! I can't remember the last time I didn't have a twinge or a pain or something just wrong. Muscle fatigue and soreness I can deal with. It tells me I'm growing, and I kind of expect to live the rest of my life feeling that way every day. It's when the knee and the back and the shoulder and the hip and the groin get out of wack that I get frustrated.

Yesterday's run was far more difficult than Thursday's. Understandable, in that I ran farther Thursday than I've run in any single day since the middle of March. My legs were tired, but not completely beat up and useless. I guess the biking I've been doing has kept them in some form of shape.

I wanted to check out the path that appeared to be uphill and completely sunlit, the opposite direction from the one I took Thursday. Turns out I was wrong on both the uphill and the sunlit bit. I'm still trying to decide which path is more challenging. I already know I'm partial to the direction I ran Thursday.


This the best representation of the entire path. It does not simply go uphill one way, resulting in a downhill return trip. It undulates, up and over freeway crossings and other roads. The highest elevation gain was about 200 ft. Apparently the majority of shade hits the path in the afternoon, which is good to know.

I do have to say, I didn't see anything like this going the other direction:


I passed this sign just before my alarm went off, telling me I'd run half and hour and it was time to turn around. I was very happy to hear the alarm, as I was having difficulty convincing myself to continue much farther. I knew I was already tired, and did not want to find myself at the bottom of a hill I could not climb back up.


Did I forget to mention there was a 20 degrees difference in temperature between Thursday and yesterday? I didn't realize this when I left my nice, shaded, not-air-conditioned-but-cool house. The car read 79 degrees, which seemed reasonable. When I got to the park it read 87 degrees. The weird thing is, I didn't feel overheated. There was a nice breeze, and enough shade to keep me relatively comfortable. You can see it in my pace, however. That and the tired legs from the previous day.

My return trip was a challenge. In addition to the undulating hills, my shoes were giving me trouble. I bought a pair of Hoka One One's a few months back, in the hopes they would help me run more miles with fewer injuries. They have the same 4mm heel drop as my Kinvara's, but are built up on about 2 inches of foam. The idea is they cushion and absorb the pounding on knees and other joints.

Yesterday marks the third time I've tried to run in this particular pair of shoes. I've only put in about 10 miles on them, because my toes start getting uncomfortably tingly at about the 3 mile mark. I tried loosening the laces, since I've had shoes restrict circulation before. I tried tightening the laces. Neither worked. I thought maybe it had to do with muscle building, since the shoe gives a bit every time I push off. My feet are not sore today though, as they would be if I were building muscle. The problem may be that the shoes are too large. They are the same size as my Kinvara's, but there is a full thumb-width of space between my toe and the end of the toe box.

I just now called the place I bought them, to see if there is some way I can still use this shoe. It's beyond the 30 day no-hassle return window, but I may still be able to replace them with a smaller size. I left a message, and we'll see what they say.

So my return run was riddled with shoe lace tightening and loosening. I ultimately stopped and took my socks off, thinking they were pulling against my toes. This has happened in other shoes, but not for a long time. It didn't appear to resolve the issue. The undulating path, and the heat, didn't help. I walked. A lot.


Funny thing is, I wasn't miserable. My feet were uncomfortable. My body was tired. I still worked out how I would return to run the path again the next day (today). If I couldn't run in the Hoka's, I would run a few miles on the side of the path in the Merrell trail gloves. I've not run in the zero heel drop shoes since shortly after I got them, but I've been walking around in them a bit lately and thinking about running in them.


Funny also how I was uncomfortable with the idea of running in an industrial area, but not 10 minutes away I'm perfectly fine running on a path next to a practically deserted road.


My surroundings may have had something to do with my attitude. I think a lack of pressure also helped. I have no time goals, though I'm interested to see how fast I run. I have no set training plan. Just get out and run. If I walk, I walk. Distance doesn't even really matter, though I'm hoping to get to 10 miles per day at some point. For now, I just run.

I decided not to go back out and run today. Saturday and Sunday will be my cross-training slash rest days. Today (as soon as I post this) I am going to do some yoga and some core work. I like this lack of pain thing.

Monday I run, then work, then run. No yoga at lunch since they said they would feed us. I'll let you know how it goes.

June 15, 2012

This is SO going to work!

I'm not even lying.

Today I decided to try running in the park near where I'll be working. I had an appointment for an oil change in the relative vicinity, wanted to see what the path is like, and also wanted to figure out how long it would take me to clean up, change, and put on make-up before work. (Yes, I will wear make-up. At least at first!)

Getting to the park is simple. Take a left off the freeway ramp and it's the second right. Changing in the latrine is not exactly ideal, but at least there's a lock on the door of the 2-stall little building. I set a timer on my phone for half an hour and headed down the path.

Please forgive the quality of the images. I had my phone in a ziplock, tucked into my bra. I can't stand arm bands, and I didn't want to wear my hydro-pack so this was my solution. I'm trying to pare down on running gear. I'm still running sans music, though I did have my gps on this time. I wanted to know how far I ran in those 30 minutes.

Gorgeous!
The path is almost entirely shaded, rambling in and out of the woods along a not-busy road. This particular picture is a bit misleading.


The majority of the path looked more like this. Almost entirely downhill. There was one little section that had a rise, but the net elevation loss was about 300 ft.


30 minutes = 2.76 miles. Not bad for not being able to run over the last week or so. Not bad for the small amount of running I've done over the past two months.

For the record my groin is pretty much healed. I did have a few moments of trouble with my right buttock, but I focused on relaxing my hips and it went away. In case I didn't mention, I'm pretty sure the whole issue started because my hips were so tight from 2 run days in a row + 2 hard biking days in a row.

Lesson learned: STRETCH!

The return trip was a different story. I walked. Several times.

It's a beautiful pathway
It was a beautiful day

The incline = not so beautiful

I'm going to have to figure in an additional 10 minutes or so for the return trip, if that's the direction I run. Maybe not 10 minutes. I won't have as much time in the mornings as I did today, and the worst of the incline came in about the last 3/4 mile. I'm not likely to get that far.

Getting cleaned up was no problem. I basically took a sponge bath, except with a washcloth. The only issue I had was the container I brought warm water in, leaked. I now have a new container that does not leak. Problem solved.

After getting cleaned up I drove the other direction through the park, to see if it was up or downhill. Mostly it's uphill, which would be preferable for my morning run when time is an issue. It didn't look like any of it was shaded though. This was at about noon, so it may not be direct sunlight at 7am, or at 5pm.

Either way, I have options. 

When I told Superman I'd enjoyed the run so much I was thinking about going back out there tomorrow, he was flabbergasted. Actually, he teased me because he'd never heard me say I enjoyed a run before. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. It's happened more in the past year, since I've gotten stronger. 

After my run, I went to my Mom's and hung pictures. I still have tile to lay around the kitchen counter tops. There are still the basement stairs and 2nd floor molding to think about. I am not done working at my mother's house. However, I am done with the project I started with my Dad. Somehow, the timing worked out perfectly so I would finish just as I started my new job.

It feels like the end of an era.

After hanging pictures, I came home and enjoyed part 2 of my Christmas gift from Superman.


An hour long massage. All the kinks from hauling mulch and most of the stiffness from running 5.5 miles today is gone. 

And for today, all is right in my world. 

June 12, 2012

A post NOT about where I'm going to run!

I have a confession to make. I haven't been running, or doing much of anything lately. I haven't run since last Tuesday. I did something either Thursday or Friday that by Saturday night caused severe discomfort in my right groin area. Before you get all "Ew!" and "TMI!" let me pull up Dr. Google.


It feels like I've pulled or pinched the Gracilis, but I say that only because it is the closest to the inside of my thigh, right where it connects at the bottom of the hip bone. It could also be the adductor brevis, which appears to connect at the same place. Whatever it is, I felt it across my tailbone first, and in my left hip. By Sunday I had the groin, a pain in my butt, and a tightness that traveled up my back into my right shoulder blade area. The back issue may be because the other problem changes the way I walk and hold myself. Stretching helps. Moving helps, but the discomfort comes back. 

It thought rest would help, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It is better today than it was Saturday or Sunday. Moving really does help. I didn't feel it at all today while I helped my Mother and Aunt take care of this:



6 yards of mulch, spread. My lower back hurt. I have trouble walking stairs and my arms are sore now, but I didn't feel the groin issue until a good 3 hours after I got home.

I haven't been sleeping well, and with this "injury" I've been afraid to run. I simply roll over and tried to get a bit more sleep when my alarm goes off. I'm going to try again tomorrow to mimic my new work schedule and get a run in, partly because I need to get used to getting up earlier, and partly because moving really does help. If it turns out I can't run, I know I can at least walk. 

I just found this blog, which describes almost exactly what I'm experiencing. It sounds like maybe I somehow inflamed my sacroiliac joints. I've been diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back and hip. I wonder if the this is related? The good news is, stretching should help. Now I HAVE to add that yoga in every day. 

June 10, 2012

Are you tired of this yet?

I promise I'll stop talking about how I'm going to run at the new job, as soon as I figure out how I'm going to run at the new job. Superman told me there is a Metropark in the area. Because I really don't like the idea of jumping out of bed and straight out the door to run, I decided to see if I could drive to this park, run there, then head to work.

Turns out there are bridle trails and loops all over the area.
This parking area is within 10 minutes of my job
I now have options.

Based on an 8:30am start time, I can get up at 6:30, be out the door with coffee in hand by 6:45, and hit the bridle path by 7:15. This gives me enough time for at least 3 miles before cleaning up, getting changed and heading to work. I'm thinking I can get a little more mileage in if I run by time instead of distance. Depending on traffic, I can have up to an hour on the path. If I set an alarm for 25 minutes, I can do an out and back that still gives me time to cool down, clean up, change, and head to work.

Providing I have an hour lunch, I can then drive to the park on my lunch break for another quick 3 (or more). I might spend this time doing yoga, though I'll have to find a better place when it starts getting cold.

Then, after work, I can avoid rush hour traffic with another 3 or 4 miles - whatever it takes to round out the daily 10. Or yoga. I think stretching will be very important if I'm putting in the mileage I want to be putting in.

OR

I can sleep in until 7, run at lunch, and run longer after work. This doesn't leave me with time to stretch though.

OR

I can just run after work. This would be the hardest on my body, and it would take longer to work up to that 10 miles per day goal.

I'm torn. I want to run early because even on tired legs I can run 3 miles. This means (in my crazy little head) that I'll be able to run the 9-10 miles per day almost immediately. I understand that is not likely to happen, and I would probably end up hurting myself if I tried. Doesn't stop my crazy little head.

I like the idea of sleeping in and running at lunch/after work, but I also like the idea of saving gas $$ by avoiding rush hour traffic and reducing my travel time. I REALLY like the idea of running more than once a day. I do think giving my legs a chance to rest between runs will help get my mileage up quicker, without being quite so injury-prone.

I've been planning all weekend to schedule this last week of unemployment as if I were working. I'll be up at 6:30 for coffee and breakfast, then out the door to run by 7:15. I have to go take the drug test tomorrow, and I have a few other errands to run as well, so that will get me out the door when I'm done running. I have things planned for each day this week, to get me out of the house at least part of the day. When I get back from errands I'll do some stretching, then spend the afternoon putting in more applications. I plan to get out for another 3 miles around 5, but am aware of my proclivity toward not going out again when I'm home in front of my computer. I'll be happy if I run and stretch every day this week. Running every day hasn't happened for quite a while.

June 8, 2012

I'm not obsessive


Even though I know they will email me when my status changes, I check Cleveland Clinic's job site daily to make sure they haven't kicked me out of the running. I currently have 3 applications under review, though I've only heard back about the system administrator one.

I found this site today, and have been working and reworking my budget ever since.

Turns out I can afford either health care OR 401K. Not both.

I've also been working and reworking where and when I'm going to run. I thought for a minute parking several miles away from work was the answer, until I googled the area. No sidewalks except on the main road, which is busy and fast. Very few trees. Industrial, which makes me nervous.

I'm not a big fan of hopping out of bed and heading straight out to run, but I'm leaning toward just that. I'm even less a fan of heading right back out the door after I get home, and running after a full day at work. I still don't know what time my day starts, but if I have to be at work by 8 my morning would look like this:
5:45 - wake up, pee, dress, get coffee started
6:00 - head out the door for 4-5 miles
7:00 - absolute latest I can be back from my run. I can eat breakfast and drink coffee in the car on the way in, and I don't do makeup or blow-dry my hair. All I really need time for is a shower and to throw my clothes on.
7:20 - head out the door.  
I'll have one day a week when I can put in a few more miles (or hit snooze a time or two), because Superman's house is a good 20 minutes closer to work than mine. I'm sure the mileage will vary with weather conditions, but 3 miles slogged through snow and slush = at least 4-5 miles in my book.

I would have to prepare as much as possible the night before, like setting out clothes and packing lunch. I've been working on a general menu. I really do so much better food-wise with a schedule. I can happily eat the same thing day after day for breakfast and lunch, with dinner the only variation. It will help that there is not much in the way of restaurants or take-out in the area. Not that I can afford to eat out anyway.

4-5 miles every day would be awesome, but does not satisfy my mileage goals. I'm thinking I can do another 3-4 at lunch most days. That won't get me to 10 miles per day, but it's far better than the mileage I'm doing now. Not thrilled with the area, but at least I'm not likely to be abducted during the middle of the day. I'll have to pack a washcloth, etc. so I don't stink the place up all afternoon.

This will not be a long term position for me. I can't afford to live on this salary. Not only can I not afford to pay for either health care or 401K, I also cannot afford to pay on my student loans. I'm still waiting to hear from the housing people to find out if they are able to at least reduce the interest rate on my mortgage. That will help a little.

Maybe this will help, too

June 5, 2012

Just another rat in the maze

So this happened today:


It is not my dream job, which I have not heard back about yet, and do not expect to hear back about for another week or so.

It is not the money I was hoping to make, though I was told there would be the occasional chance for overtime.

It is not my first choice for a career, and I feel I probably could have gotten this job without having gone to school for 2 years and incurred that debt. Aunt Gertie reminds me my degree may have been a deciding factor in them offering the job to me, as opposed to someone else. This is altogether possible.

It is a job in the IT field. It is an open door to other help desk positions, and if I continue to teach myself about computers, possibly to other positions as well.

Most importantly, it is a job. Period.

Not surprisingly, since accepting the position my mind has been filled with how to get my sweat on while working 20 miles away. 20 miles doesn't sound like much, until you realize the freeway I have to take goes through the worst section of traffic in the area. The 271/480 split is ALWAYS a cluster, during both morning and evening rush hour. That, and I'm still stuck on the idea of riding or running to work, a la the Clinic job.

So here are my thoughts:

It's about a 40 minute drive on the freeway, sans traffic.

It's about a 40 minute drive on main roads, sans traffic.

It's about a 2 hour ride on the bike. This wouldn't be so bad if I started work a little later, which may or may not happen as schedules are by bid and I'm low man on the totem pole for getting the time slot I want. That, and I'm on the 8-5 schedule for this first quarter, while in training.

It's about a half hour drive to Superman's, then an hour on the bike. I'm liking this idea, if only because I get my exercise in getting too and from work. I like even more the idea that I could run the 9.2. That will be a long time coming though, and would involve a riding in, running home, driving in, riding home, running in, driving home sort of shell game.

The best idea so far is to find somewhere about 5 miles from work to park, then run it in. That gives me the 10 miles per day, which I may switch up with biking early on until I get my stamina up.

Other thoughts:

I get to wear jeans.

If I stay for a year, they have tuition reimbursement. This could work well if I pursue A+ certification, or find an SQL or other course that catches my interest.

They offer will and other legal documents prepared, free. This is big for someone who has been talking about getting my shit together for months and months.

Matching charitable gifts.

Health Club reimbursement up to $100/year.

I'm still hoping to hear from the Clinic, and I put in several other applications this weekend that could be better than this. Again however, a job is a job, and having one in IT is a step in the right direction.

oh, this happened today too...

I'm working on getting all the knick knacks, wall hangings, and books back upstairs. Everything is now cleaned and put back together, except the things used to block off the newly painted and polyurethaned radiator boxes so Bronte doesn't paint and polyurethane her paws. Hopefully the polyurethane will keep her from scratching the boxes when she loses her mind when the mailman comes. Of course, she's not been getting as worked up since Mom started using the Bark Off ultrasonic do-hickie.

June 2, 2012

Among the things you hoped for

My runs lately have been sporadic, and no more than 3 miles each. I could easily have run Thursday and Friday, but didn't. It was cool with scattered showers, and I could have run between the rain (or even in the rain). Didn't happen. I let my emotions over being done with the interviews + not believing I'd get the job I really want take hold.

Today I decided I needed to run, regardless. I knew it would make me feel better, simply because I was out doing something. I was right. I ran 4 miles instead of 3, mainly because if I DO get the job I really want I'll be running 4.5 miles to and from work most days, and I have to get into the proper shape to do that. I'm planning to succeed, even though I still don't really believe it will happen. I have to be ready just in case.

Shortly after I got home, I received an email from a staffing agency congratulating me on my new position. This is the agency that may or may not have submitted my resume without telling me for the QA position. I haven't heard from Hyland Software about that job (nor any company about any job), and wonder what mistake was made that I received this email. Was it supposed to go out Monday, or was it not supposed to go to me?

I'm going with "should have gone out Monday" and am now figuring out how to make that position work for me, while still holding out hope the Clinic will want me. The QA position is the one an hour away, where I may or may not be expected to work overtime on a regular basis. If I don't work the overtime, I will not make the money I want. The plus side is, once training is over I can flex my start time a bit. I can either come in earlier or later to miss traffic. I figure I can do my runs on lunch, though I won't be getting 9-10 miles in that way. I might go in early, run on lunch, then run again after work to miss traffic coming home. I don't know yet if I can work through lunch in order to leave earlier. If that were the case, I'd run longer after work.

Funny, what's important to me here.

I have another week before I can contact someone about the Clinic position. Or rather, they told me I could expect to hear something in 2 weeks, and it's only been one. I think I will contact the person I spoke with, should I get an offer, to see if I can speed things up a little. I'm also wondering if I should hold off on starting any new position. Monkey Boy comes home on the 11th for a week. It was supposed to be for 2 weeks, but he couldn't get the leave. I'd like to spend time with him while he's here. Using him as an excuse could also give the Clinic the time it needs to decide they want to interview/hire me. All I really need is the time to get the interview in. They can take all the time they need deciding to hire me, after.

It's a fine line, isn't it?
UPDATE: Four hours later I received another email from the staffing agency, indicating the original email was sent in error due to "system maintenance issues." Ah well. Not like I'm out of the running on any of these, yet.

June 1, 2012

Another one down

Yesterday I interviewed for a Software Support position. This would be helping customers with issues or questions about their product (accounting software on crack for property management). They have separate software for residential and commercial property owners, and have recently acquired at least 2 companies whose products they are working on integrating into their own.

I'm having a hard time getting excited about the 2 positions I've interviewed for that are not the Cleveland Clinic. Career-wise, the QA position is the better opportunity between the two, looking solely at Salary.com numbers. It sounds fast paced and varied enough to keep me interested. The offices imply working there is fun and comfortable. However, one of my interviewers said I'd have to work overtime to make the money I want, and that everyone works like 5 hours overtime per week. I am a little confused because I thought one of the earlier interviewers told me they do not work overtime. I do not want to have to drive an hour each way, plus be required to work consistent overtime. It would be different if I lived closer, but with the housing situation as it is I'm not likely to move within the next few years. Honestly I'm no longer sure I made the good impression on them I originally thought, so this may be a moot point.

The Software Support position is closer. Theoretically, I could ride the bike from Superman's, though the roads I would have to travel are high traffic. They are also talking about building a gym on premises, which would be nice if it happened. I'm not particularly thrilled with the way they schedule, which is by bid process. I would rank the different scheduling options, which go from starting at 6:30am to leaving at 8:00pm. After everyone ranks their preferences, the schedule is built around seniority. You keep that schedule for 3 months, then go through the process again. This means I would be on the least preferred schedule indefinitely, until they hired in more help. That may work in my favor, if it allows me to interview for other positions because I'm not working a standard 9-5. The scheduling bit wouldn't start right off though, as there is at least a month of training on the product first. I do think I made a good impression here, and kind of expect them to offer me the job. 

While I would accept either position and make do (a job is a job is a job), at this point I don't think I'd build a long-term career at either organization. I can see myself enjoying and gaining satisfaction from both types of work. I'm more concerned with quality of life outside of work, and how to integrate my priorities into the work day. Basically, you just can't beat the ability to run to work every day, coupled with a better-than-hoped-for salary, amazing health care, and bonus benefits. My attitude might change once I learn I'm out of the running for the Cleveland Clinic job. I really do expect to find myself out of the running, since I want it so much. 

When I got home from the interview yesterday, I decided I needed brownies to cheer me up. Right after I put the brownies in the oven, this arrived on my doorstep:
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
This is part 1 of 3 gifts I can expect from Mother's Day. My boys signed me up for a 3-month variety of the month club. At the end of every month I get a gift in the mail. I'm not sure what the other 2 gifts will be, but this 8" cheesecake is rich enough it might last until the next gift arrives! Yeah, that's not likely to happen, but I am going to cut it up and freeze it in portions so I don't eat it all this week. It's yummy!