Monday, October 21, 2013

Are you Connected?

These have been the worst days of my adult life.

Well, maybe I overstate that a bit.  Being without a cell phone these past several days has certainly been a challenge for me.  Not being able to check my email constantly.  No alarm to set to get up.  No ability to call and talk to people when I am in the car.  No maps and traffic info.  Nobody calling me. 

It all seems to be too much.  

I had expected to be just drop by a local store and pick up a new phone, probably an iPhone, but possibly a LG or Samsung.  Both have come recommended and maybe I’m ready for a change.  But as it turns out BRUKS is getting a phone for me, an iPhone 5, which is being delivered to the office in Alpharetta, so there is nothing to do but pass the lonely hours without any phone.  I may have it when I visit the office later today, or at least by Wednesday. 

Is there a recognized medical condition called App Deprivation?

 But on other fronts, I write this sitting in seat 18E, an aisle seat on a 767-300, on a flight to Atlanta.   I rose at 4:00 am, and was at the airport at 5:25 am.  No upgrade for me this time, but soon, I hope.  I am very close to qualifying for Platinum Level, which carries the advantage of getting notification of upgrades to first class 1 week before a flight.  Mere Gold Level flyers like me have to hope to be upgraded the day before, or at the gate.  You just don’t know until the last minute.  I hate that, but love to hear the sound of the little printer go off when my boarding pass is scanned.  (Did I mention that I don’t have a cell phone so I can’t do paperless boarding passes?  There’s an App for that!)

This weekend I was finally able to get to making apple sauce.  Filling the large pressure cooker with apples and cooking them down produced enough sauce to fill 6 quart jars.  I did this twice, so now we have an even dozen.  Most of this will be consumed by grandchildren, I’m thinking, so it is effort well spent. 

Judy and spent a lot of time this weekend working on paperwork to support the efforts we are making to more actively plan for our financial future.  We have signed up with Shannon’s company, ICON Consulting, and the program they put new clients through is intense and thorough.  We have scanned all of the important documents in our life and have trusted them into secure storage, among many activities.  This includes the normal stuff you might think would be important, like savings accounts, 401k accounts, etc., but also things like wills, insurance, and so forth.  I don’t think we have sent a copy of our marriage certificate, but I bet they ask for it shortly.  I think this is a very good thing to do overall, and I trust that the time and effort will be worth it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Era Ends

In a surprising and quite unexpected turn, I made my visit on Monday to the WSM office and was debriefed, and hustled back out the same door.  I turned in my computer, iPad, iPhone, and other company-issued items, said a few quick goodbyes, and was done.  I guess the weekend allowed the whole Des Is Resigning process to solidify in someone’s mind, and on Monday the path was clear.
Note:  My old cell phone number is no longer good.  Please stay tuned for a new number that I should have shortly.

So, my day involved getting up at 4:30, showering and departing the house at 5:00 am, transiting Seattle and Tacoma before rush hour (it is surprising how many cars are up and out at that time of day), and then catching some badly needed winks sitting in a park in Chehalis.  I typically catch 30 minutes of nap along the route in the morning, but yesterday I stretched it to 60 minutes.  I was sleepy.  When I started again I pulled back on I-5 South, only to be immediately pulled over by a State Trooper.  It seems that my right rear running light was out.  I tapped the clear plastic housing and it came back on.  Strange.  No ticket, just a notice by the Trooper.  On down to Salem, arriving about 10:20.  People quickly informed me that my new status of Ex-WSM Employee was known to everyone, so I started in on the goodbye talks.  I was stopped by many and wished good luck, etc.  I went to lunch with Bob, and that was nice.  I met with ML for about 20 minutes, and was reminded that I was under strict obligation not to take any company IP with me when I left, and not to divulge any secret info to others.  We then reviewed projects (very briefly), and I was given my walking papers.  I met with a couple of others and hit the road to return home at 4:20.  I got home at 8:45 pm, after stopping at Costco for gas.  500+ miles for a 1-day commute.

Now I have the rest of this and all next week before I start with BRI.  I have a busy schedule in November, with 2 weeks of conferences to attend in Vancouver BC, and a trip to Atlanta to squeeze in, along with Turkey Day and all the rest.  It promises to be a busy end of the year.  Actually, I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Transitional Employment Update

In the movie Avatar our hero gets lost in the space between his 2 worlds - the familiar world of what we might call reality, and the Pandoran world of the Navi, the native people with whom he spends time with in the form of his avatar.  He struggles to keep them separate, and to know where his loyalties and priorities lie.  Both are real in their separate ways, and both compete as being the one and only "reality" in his mind.

In Des World things have moved into a similar sort of 2 world separation.  I live in the reality of life at WSM and the commuting to Salem world there for at least another week or 2, chasing WSM projects and thinking about how to land WSM orders, but also now focusing on the BRUKS world where I will be spending my time in the very near future.  It helps that the companies are so different, and the products are so different.  And it helps that my 4+ years at BRI were good years as far as I was concerned. 

I have given my notice at WSM, but only to the president.  I wrote a very direct and clear 2 page letter describing why I was leaving, which he and I discussed on Friday, and will again tomorrow.  He said he wanted time to digest it.  My leaving is essentially a secret at this point, as he tries to find a way to convince me to stay.  In the notice of resignation I suggested a short list of activities I can perform over the next couple of weeks, which I have been doing here at home, and that I can pursue this week in Salem.  Next week is a question as far as I am concerned - Will I go to Salem or stay home?  I would prefer to stay home.  The president of WSM is now talking with the President of BRI about the change, which I hope results in forestalling any possible legal action.  Mark and Steve have been business friends in the past, so I hope this works out well.

What ever happened to the WSU job?  Yes, an excellent question.  I interviewed on Sept. 27, 2 + weeks ago now, and I have heard absolutely nothing from them or about the results of the interview process.  As far as I know they are still mulling over their options, or talking to the other candidates, or doing nothing at all.  I will send a note to the Search Committee Chair this week withdrawing my name from consideration.  I would have liked to have been be asked, but apparently time outside of the University behaves differently than time inside.  This is another reason that I don't think this would have been a good fit for me.  I still burn a candle against the possibility of an actual university-level teaching job someday, but a Program Directorship in Hardwood Biofuels is not in my future, despite the convenience it represented.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week 6 - Following My Teams

I don't normally blog about sports, but I am excited about the way today is turning out. 
  • U. of New Hampshire won today 54-19 over Rhode Island.
  • Mizzou, now 6-0 and rated number 25 in the nation this week, beat No. 7 Georgia in a trouncing.
  • Washington (no. 17) is losing to Oregon (no. 2) as I write this, but they are looking strong, and will certainly rise in the national rankings.
  • And WSU plays Oregon State at 7:30 tonight.  Anything can happen.  The Cougs have been playing well lately.
And I am getting some needed Honey-Do Chores done while I follow the games.

I just wish I was playing golf at the same time!