Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week 34 of Unemployment

Week 34 was really depressing and another roller coaster, but, by now, I've had such a fun weekend full of ballroom dancing, swimming and dinner with friends (followed by live pond hockey and a spaghetti benefit dinner for a friend today) that I have pretty much forgotten about it. Still, I owe my readers my update, so I will rehash all those feelings.

I had an interview for a contract job that I REALLY want. It is a line of medical writing that I've never done, but is perfect for me (in my opinion and other fellow medical writers). This particular company has been on my radar for years because of their local reputation. And I have played the squeaky wheel role, contacting them over and over again. So I was elated when I got an interview out of the blue this week! My balloon burst though when they said they can't really give me projects since I don't have the direct experience. Boo hoo. It's a catch 22 situation and I understand where they are coming from, but I also understand how determined I am and how quickly I learn new things. I am not going to just lay down and die. I am still going to be a squeaky wheel with them and see where it leads.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

911 in da woods

If we are ever in the woods together, rest assure. I can save you!!! I may not be able to find my way out of the woods, but I can save you ...

This is thanks to completing a Wilderness First Aid class this weekend.

Wilderness First Aid is quite different from regular First Aid. If someone dislocates their shoulder in a grocery store (hey, it could happen), you call 911. If it happens in the wilderness, you reduce the dislocation and hopefully pop it back into place.

J didn't need the course, but our health insurance paid for it and he wanted to keep me company. He has taken some kind of variation of wilderness first aid several times before, but it's always good to take a refresher.

I, on the other hand, needed the course desperately. I always take those quizzes in the magazines testing your wilderness skills in different predicaments and I usually fail. And although I ALWAYS feel safe when I'm with J, what's going to happen when he needs my help!?!?!

So we spent 16 hours this weekend in the REI classroom and outside in the single-digit temps and snow playing out wilderness rescue scenarios (hence the bruise above; the scenarios were made as real as possible). My brain is just about ready to explode with all the new knowledge, but I do feel very confident.
The thermometer read -10.9 degrees Sunday night.
POST EDIT - Ignore the indoor temp ... it sits right by the window and doesn't read right, so it was more like 60 degrees in the house.

Of course every time the instructors asked the class a question, J turned to me and whispered the answer. Fine, he is a wilderness genius. But, I believe this is the worst ankle taping job (it was part of our class) I've ever seen!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Week 33 of Unemployment

Not much to report here. Sent out more resumes to what seems like promising leads, but I think I can already predict the outcome of that! Also heard from the place where I interviewed earlier this month. They are expanding their search and conducting more interviews. I think that means that I'm not getting a callback. Yep, just another day in the life of a job searcher.

In other news, we got A LOT of snow this week. I looooove it. But, ShortShorts is out of town and I did a little shoveling. Because I am unemployed. Then I didn't looooove the snow as much.

Give me a day or two and I will fall back in love. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

J, the good samaritan

We are getting pounded with winter weather these past few days. It's lovely, but not so much for driving.

And today J got to pay it forward. Twice.

On his drive to work this morning, he saw a car stuck in a snowbank after swerving and hitting a telephone pole. So he pulled over, hooked up his tow rope and pulled the kid out.

Then tonight, on our way to soccer, there was a car in a snowbank on the highway. So J stopped again. Unfortunately, his tow rope broke on this attempt. But, another person pulled over and they used his tow rope. Plus, a cop pulled over and stopped traffic so J could drive across the highway to get the car out of the snowbank because this girl was deeeeeep.

So there are his good deeds. Plus, we got to soccer and were short on players, so he had to come out of retirement and play goalie, which he hates.

Drive safe out there everyone! We no longer have a tow rope!

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Day

Or as they call it in NH, Civil Rights Day.

J had off because it is a state holiday, and we wanted to do something fun. Lucky for him, I have my sweet magazine gig and scored another B&B assignment.

This B&B was definitely more our style. Don't get me wrong, we like all B&Bs, especially ones that we get to go to for free. But this one was at a rustic log cabin and was surrounded by the wilderness. Once again, we were green. You know, green with envy. Someday, we will own a log cabin. And some yurts. And a Scooby Doo VW camper. And a rock climbing gym. And a concert venue where only From Good Homes plays (some dreams are a little ridiculous). But I digress. 
The view of Mt. Washington from the B&B
So the B&B was awesome. And while we were up north, we checked out the Ammonoosuc Rail Trail. It's 19 miles, and no way did we XC ski all 19 miles. But we did enough to get a taste. I am not against snowmobiles, but I guess I really don't like sharing the trails with them. Unfortunately for me, there were tons of snowmobiles on the trail, but that's what you get on a multi-use trail.

All in all, a good weekend. J is especially happy that the Jets won on Sunday! We put ourselves in a tricky situation watching the game at a bar, as they were playing the Patriots, and Pats fans are ... passionate.

"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now." MLK

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 32 of Unemployment

This week was a little bit of a roller coaster, but with a good ending.

It started off with a ripple in my unemployment. When you file for UE each week, they ask about your job search. I've been pretty good about applying for jobs each week, but the week between Christmas and New Year's, I didn't apply for any. I did a search, but there were literally no jobs! I'm not sure how they expected me to apply for jobs in this case, but I got my hand slapped and they skipped a week of my UE because of it.

On Tuesday, I heard from a colleague that she had a project come her way that she couldn't accept and did I have time. Um, yes. We e-mailed back and forth and she was planning to recommend me to the client. But, I haven't heard back and I'm assuming the client had someone else in mind already. I didn't get my hopes up too high, but it was a still a disappointment. I just want new clients and new work ... is it too much to ask?

The rest of the week was fine, but I'm just not finding great leads and all those seeds I planted before Christmas, they ain't growin.

So now that we have all the bad stuff out of the way, here's the good stuff!

I got my voice back. I lost it after last week's interview and I missed it so much. For someone who doesn't work and hardly leaves the house, I sure talk a lot. Poor J!

I got my official certificate in the mail showing my completion of the AMWA Core Curriculum Program in Editing/Writing. If you need my address to send graduation gifts, just e-mail me.

Verizon finally announced that they would offer their customers the iPhone. I have been waiting for this! I knew I wanted to get some sort of technologically advanced phone for the trail, but I speak only Apple when it comes to computer devices, so I couldn't imagine getting another type of crackberry. And, I would never jump ship from Verizon either.

J & I paid off our Trailblazer. I should rephrase that. J paid off our Trailblazer. I probably contributed $1000 toward it ... It has been our goal to pay down all our debt before hitting the trail—school loans, vehicles, mortgage. Some debt has been tamed, including one of my school loans, both cars and J's school loans. Other debt will be with us forever, like my other school loan. I like to call it a work in progress.

I did finally get through to someone at my local office and found out the federal extension does apply to NH. So when my UE runs out in a month or so, I can file for a 20-week extension. Phew.

And this last bit is the icing on the cake (ooh, I could really go for a piece of cake right now). BossLady from my former company asked me to do some steady freelance work. It'll probably be 6-8 hours each week. Yeah for having a purpose each week!

That, my friends, was my 32nd week of unemployment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now that's what I'm talking about

We finally got a good, blog-worthy snowstorm here. I was spoiled our first winter here in 2008, when we got a record 120 inches of snow. But, since then, it's been disappointing (by my standards).

Today, though, we got a classic Nor'easter. The kind where the snow blows up, down, sideways, diagonal, backwards ...
This is a covered porch, mind you.

I think the snow is slowing now, but we got close to 2 feet. It was spectacular, and made even better by the fact that J had a snow day and I am unemployed ...

Thank you, New England, thank you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Set Your DVR

For those of you who have the Nat Geo channel (which I'm assuming includes all of you, except for J & I of course), set your DVR or MP3 or whatever they call it these days for tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 8pm (EST). There's a new documentary about the AT out and several friends have told me about it. I wish I could watch it, but I did get to see some video clips on the website. Watch it for us and let us know what you think!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 31 of Unemployment

Well hello there! This week marks my 31st week of being unemployed. I have not mentioned being unemployed in the last 3 weeks on this blog and you, my readers, were probably thinking thank the good Lord!!!! But guess what? This just means I have a lot of catching up to do on the subject!

First of all, the federal unemployment extension has passed. But, I am still trying to get in touch with my local office to confirm what exactly this means for me. I am assuming I am one of the thousands trying to call because I can't seem to get through. It's okay people, I have AAAAAALLLLL day and week to keep trying to call you.

My job search this week did not turn up any new openings. I think employers may still be in the holiday coma and hopefully they bounce back by next week. Martin Luther King Day is coming up and we all know everyone has that off and the day's celebrations could set employers back into a holiday coma ...

Alas, I do have good news. I had an interview this week. For a full-time job. GASP! I didn't know such jobs in my field existed anymore! In any case, I know you are all shaking your head at me saying, "but I thought you were all self-employed now and had the trail on your brain." Sure, I'd love to make this self-employment thing work. However, the only thing I have going these days is the magazine gig, which sadly, does not pay the billz. As for the trail, it is still the PLAN, but I also do not want to close any doors of opportunity.

The interview went great, especially considering I haven't really interviewed for a job in 8 years or so! I've interviewed plenty of people over the years, but it's a different story to be in the hot seat. The company is one of those places you aspire to work for, actually in the top 5 in NH. The job would definitely broaden my career and challenge me, but I do not feel I am not perfectly matched for it. Get this! Part of the duties would be to manage the Facebook page!!! Me, of all people (BTW, I did get on FB as I promised SILMeow, but I am still not really "on"). Anyways, they are narrowing from 5 people to 2 in the next week. I'm not sure which way to wish, to be honest. We shall see what the universe has in store!

PS-I am waiting for snow here. We're supposed to get a whopping 3 inches and I am pathetic for being excited about that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Part VII - Twenty Eleven

We left Topeka, Kansas, on Friday morning in an ice storm and 20 degrees. I always hear about "golf-sized hail" on the news and now I got to experience it!

Pressing on, we drove 746 miles from Topeka through tornado warnings in Missouri and rain, but much higher temperatures, in Illinois and Indiana to Columbus, Ohio, in order to celebrate New Year's Eve with theHoss and Accessory. Since I ruined the hut trip, we figured the next best thing would be to hang with theHoss. Afterall, he is quite irresistible, especially when he wears his footie pajamas ...We got to Columbus by 9ish and rang in 2011 by playing to Apples to Apples over and over and over again. I seriously love that game. Would you believe that we didn't go to bed until 3-4am even though we drove 13 hours that day!!!

Of course, the late bedtime made getting up and driving another 520 miles/9 hours through rainy Ohio and foggy PA to NJ very difficult. Actually, all the miles in the homestretch were tough. The book on CD that DocDoc lent us really helped. Wish we tried out books on CD earlier in our road trip ...

Anyways, we made it to NJ last night and reunited with Mr. McKinley. He was a bit in shock when we walked in, but he slept right up on our pillows between us last night, so I think it's safe to say he is happy to be with us again.

Short on Coffee and Big on Lotto did a great job taking care of Mr. McKinley. However, he told us that he thought we left him at an Native American sweat lodge because of the high temperatures they keep the house at. He also told us that Short on Coffee got confused and fed him coffee instead of water at times. And Big on Lotto got confused and tested his blood sugar instead of his own at least six times.

Then, today, we all made it home. Home sweet home. The road trip was truly fantastic. We did end up spending more on gas than we would have on flights to Colorado, but the experiences were priceless. We drove 5,311 miles through 17 states (1/3 of the US!)!