Friday, June 03, 2011

Another change in the wind

Alright, I know it's only been a year and a half since my last post which is a little quick for this blog, but I've got some pretty big changes going on right now.  It's just before lunchtime here at my desk, behind the control room of MG&E's West Campus Cogeneration Facility where I've worked for the last seven + years.  I've got to keep this fairly brief because sometime between now and noon and ice cream cake celebrating my imminent departure is going to be served.  That's right, my IMMINENT DEPARTURE.  I'm leaving Madison!  

About two months ago I got another email from a head hunter. I used to get them pretty regularly but I was very content working here and didn't have any plans to leave, so I updated my resume to include the words semi-retirement, and phrases like "...I may have gotten even lazier in the last few years". That pretty much did the trick. The offers slowed down considerably.  At least until early April when I got a invitation to apply for an instructor position with, of all companies, GE! My former employer.  I read the job description and felt that it was way out of my league (and it may be), but I was so flattered that they thought I may be a fit, I applied.  Within a couple days I had a phone interview in which I did not try too hard to sell myself. I was honest and didn't blow ANY smoke or spin ANY yarns.  I told them I've never taught in a classroom (but have taught plenty).  I was sure I would not hear from them again, and when asked if I would be willing to travel for an interview, thinking it was a rote question, I said sure.  The next day I had an invitation from GE to travel to Schenectady for a interview. IN FOUR DAYS!  All of a sudden, the possibility seemed much more real. Ever since my first interview to get hired into Stewart & Stevenson, I know that I interview well, and that if they like my resume (lazy and all) I should be fine, because there is no fluff or exaggeration in it. I started to feel very confident. 

  This is when I let my girlfriend Lisa know what was going on. I let her know when I was first contacted about the job, but traveling for an interview was a whole new thing.  She is such an amazing friend and companion that I was honest with her that if offered the job I would be taking it. I also let her know that if she wanted to come with, the invitation was there.  I knew she would need a lot of time to think about it so I wanted to put that right out there in front, even before the interview. (Did I say I was confident?)

   the invitation to interview mentioned that "since you are interviewing for a instructors position, you will give a brief (5 minutes) presentation on the topic of your choice.  I decided to gin up a instructional presentation about 4-20 milliamp signals.  A topic I know very well.  I hadn't used PowerPoint in years, but with the help of Google to find a template (as a starting point), I had a nice one made in a few hours.  In exchange for being my mock audience, I bribed Lisa with the promise of making another batch of my home made ice cream.  She was a ideal student and now knows more than she'll ever need to know (as a home day care provider)about 4-20 milliamp current loops, their uses, benefits, and pitfalls. 

While I'm pretty sure the bribe wasn't necessary, she accepted it anyway.  While getting ready to make the ice cream, I realized that it was a perfect thing to teach someone (even a prospective employer). Everyone eats ice cream, and almost no one knows, not only what's in it, but how it's made.  I decided to document the process with photos and bring them along with me to the interview in case I felt that a presentation on how to make awesome ice cream would go over better than the dry technical one.  This is the day before I flew to Schenectady.  Lisa was my helper and the bribe payout was really genuinely delicious. Heck, you should go ahead and read the instructable I made a week or so later, using those photos. It's fun, and can teach you how to make really good ice cream.

Shoot it's four minutes to noon, and I'm no where near finishing this back in a little bit.

Yummmmm!!!!! that was nice. They seem to sincerely wish me we well in my life. What a good group of people. I'll miss it here.

So then I travel out there and do really well on the interview. I got along well with everyone I spoke with, My presentation (4-20 milliamp) went so well I asked if they wanted to see the ice cream presentation, which they did, so I  walked them through the process. My high point was when someone said " I had no idea there were eggs in ice cream". When I returned home I decided to go ahead and send them the two remaining pints of ice cream.  I ran around and found a foam filled box of the right size (I love going to Walmart early in the morning when they're stocking. You can find almost any kind of box), some dry ice and a FedEx account.  With that I sent my coup de gras, the clincher ice cream.

After a few weeks I got the offer of employment.

Once I had that it became much more real. All I had to do now, was pass the drug and background checks.  I wasn't worried about the background check, but the fact that I hang out with people who smoke pot (quite a bit of it) and I am no stranger to the smell of it had me a little concerned.  Concerned enough that I bought a home pee test to check it out. According to the home test, I was fine (both the little pee stick, and the results from sending in my pee), so I feel okay now.

Lisa and I even managed to take a nice road trip out to Schenectady last weekend (memorial day). She already happened to have both Friday and Monday scheduled off, so I used up one of my remaining sick days and drove out there.  We left after all her day care kids were gone on Thursday. We drove to Cleveland, stayed overnight and continued on to Schenectady on Friday.  I checked us into a dive motel (The StarDust), but we had to check out quickly after a chipmonk ran from the bathroom across the room, right in front of Lisa's eyes. Shoot!  It's been a week now and she's almost able to laugh about it, but trust me when I say, she was NOT a happy girl at all right then.

Once we were checked into a nice Holiday Inn, everything started getting better, and never stopped.  We had dinner at a local drive-in called Jumpin' Jacks. That place is fun, it's old school drive-in through and through.  the staff has funny names for the food orders. When I ordered a fish dinner, they yelled something about a "Whale" to the cooks.  The also yell out something when people give a tip (I think), and the food was tasty too.

The next morning we met with a realtor for the sole purpose of learning the lay of the land. We did that, but in the process I found the house I want to buy.. It's 12 Tieman rd, in the Town of Glenville. It's got some issues that I can see, but I see it's potential, and I think it's a steal at what their asking for it, but nobody (except apparently the owner) also see that. It's been on the market for well over a year, and I hear it was a FSBO for two years before that. It's basicly a three level brick colonial with three great fireplaces, awesome windows, almost 5 acres of wooded property, a large garage, two small outbuildings (both with garage doors, and one with a bathroom), a (filled with dirt) inground pool, and about 1000 feet of flat stone retaining walls.  The interior is lined in EVERY room with wood paneling. The carpet looks like it may be original 1967, and is gold with embossed paisley things. It's got a serious alarm system, and a cool old nuTone intercom system to almost every room.  I WANT IT.

Well it's almost 3:00pm now and I better finish this up if I want to leave my last day on time.  I've got about 3/4ths of my stuff moved into Lisa's garage right now. I've got to run home after work because while Lisa and I are going to Argyle tomorrow, My brother, his wife and kids are going to be staying at my condo tonight and maybe tomorrow so they can go to "Cows on the concourse" up on the Capitol square. Right now it's messier than I'd like, so I'm going to go load up some more stuff, clean up a little, and clear out for them to enjoy Madison.

I'm planning on driving the Blue Beasty (what Lisa calls my Land Rover Defender 90) out to New York next Thursday (I'm going to take three days as driving that (alone) will be a little more taxing that the BMW).  I will report for my first day of work (as an instructor teaching GE folks about turbine control systems) on Monday June 13th. Just before I started this blog post I was corresponding with my future boss. I noticed that he CC:ed another email address in the email to me. It was my new work email address. I thought that was cool, especially because in the email he mentioned that my new computer was in his office (he even said he was jealous).  I hope it goes well. I hope I excel at this new role. I intend to try hard

I'll let you know how it turns out.

See ya.


At June 19, 2011 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Like most anything else you set your mind on to do, I'm sure you'll excel in this new position.
You're a man who craves adventure. I believe this position is going to give you that and you're going to be one happy man.

So ya know--saying I wasn't happy about a chipmunk running across the motel room floor is an understatement. I'm usually up for most of your adventures and what they bring, but I have some limits that are going to be hard to bend. Sheesh, notice I said hard to bend, not unbreakable. Does that mean next time I'll be sleeping with chipmunks? With you, nothing is out of the realm of possibility!



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