Back to work

It’s been a busy month and a half.

Since the beginning of September I have taken two road trips. The first to Indiana to visit my brother and his family — daughter Addy came along on that one. The second was over Labor Day weekend to visit my relatives in West Virginia, a solo trip. Then I moved out of my apartment and back in with my folks. And, I collected my final unemployment check, not because my stipend had run out but because I started a new job. I was on unemployment for only 8 weeks. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am, especially when you consider all the people who have been out of work for months and and years, especially here in Michigan. I got lucky, I know it.

Speaking of my job, it is pretty cool. I’m not going to name the place, though. It’s an office job with all the Dilbert-esque accouterments that that entails, like cubes and copy machines and daily meetings, but the people are really cool. I like it there. Hey, we get free slushies (made from Faygo) and popcorn daily. Coffee too. This week’s slushy flavors are Lemonade and Rock n Rye. Last week it was Grape and Red Pop.

Recently JenX67 posted on her blog an entry that is, in part, about Generation X in the work place. My office is full of GenXers. I’d say mostly GenXers, from what I can gather. But there are plenty of Gen Yers/Millennials as well. In fact, my immediate supervisor is one. He’s maybe 24 or 25 years old. I heard someone ask him where he went to high school and he said Fitzgerald, graduated in 2006. I stood up at my cube and, speaking over the half-wall, said, “Hey. I went there.”

“What?” he said. “You taught there?”

I said, “No. I graduated from Fitz…twenty years before you did.” I graduated in 1986. He laughed.

My supervisor is very cool, very hip. And very good at his job. I like him a lot. I was asked by someone if it bothered me to be “taking orders” from someone so much younger than myself. But you know, it doesn’t. I could really care less. I’m there to work and to learn and he has plenty to teach, so my ears are wide open. You know, I think I’d rather have this young guy than some aging Babyboomer. At least with my boss I don’t have to listen to droning nostalgia about the 60s or The Beatles or anything like that. My boss digs JZ.

In my immediate area there a few other  GenXers. And few a Gen Yers as well.

The other day 0ur supervisor, in response to something someone else said, replied, “Awesome blossom.” He said he didn’t know why he said it.

I asked him if he was referring to the 80s TV show “Blossom.” The other GenXer’s near me just laughed and said that could not possibly be the case, he, our boss, was way too young. I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Although strangely enough he was singing that Sade “Smooth Operator” today. So….

Maybe this is an opportunity to blog about GenX in the workplace. Gen Y too for that matter. We’ll see. I’ll be working long hours soon, 10 to 12 hours a day some day. This new schedule means I don’t see my daughter as much. She stays with her mom more, not an ideal situation or one that I want but one has to do what one has to do. Addy and I will just have to make the time we do have together count.


Made my move….

Last weekend my brother and BIL came in from Indiana to help my move out of my apartment and back into my parents place. We got all the big stuff and some other things. I’m still not fully moved out yet. Still a few things left and I’d like to give the place a bit of a cleaning before turning in the keys, but essentially I’m moved into my parents’ condo.

This move has prompted me to consider all the times that I have moved in my life. Of course for the first 19 years of my life I lived in the house that I was born into in Warren, Michigan. My parents were not the type to move. Once they got settled in they didn’t want to change things.

After a failed attempt at engineering school at Lawrence Institute of Technology (LIT), as it was dubbed back in 1986, (now it Lawrence Technological University, I think((LTU))) I did a semester at Macomb Community College (MCC) and then began then began the next Fall at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Last there about three weeks.

Moved back home.

After a couple more years at MCC I moved to Ypsilant, into Jones Hall on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU).

Moved back home at the end of the school year.

Then back to EMU the next year. Lived there through the school year and summer and through the next school year before moving back home again.

After a year at home, working at B. Dalton’s Bookstore in Universal Mall, I moved to Kalamzoo, where I attended grad school at Western Michigan University. I lived in on campus apartments my first years. Moved to another on campus complex the second  years. My third years moved to a brownstone at Rose and Vine in the downtown Kalamzoo student ghetto. And for my last few years lived in an apartment complex, the name of which escapes me now.

Moved back home. Lived with folks in Warren house.

Moved into Troy apartment with girlfriend (now ex-wife).

Moved to an apartment in Ypsilanti.

Moved into a condo in Madison Heights with now ex-wife after she got pregnant.

Moved to a house in Birmingham. Lived there about 6  years.

After separating from wife, moved into Royal Oak apartment at Thirteen and Coolidge. Stayed approximately 5 months.

Moved back into Birmingham house.

Divorced and moved back in with folks in their new condo in Sterling Heights. Stayed a few months.

Moved into Troy apartment, which was actually same complex that I lived in with now ex-wife who was girlfriend at the time. Lived there a year.

Last weekend moved out of Troy apartment and back into condo with folks.  Plan to be here for awhile, to save money, so I can buy my own house, where daughter can have her own room and space. Not sure where, though. I don’t have a house to sell since ex got house in divorce. So once I save enough money I have my pick of places. Needs to be close enough to my daughter and her school but not too close to the ex.

Seems like a lot of moving to me. Is that normal for someone of my generation?



With each passing day, as I get closer and closer to my end date (August 9th), I seem to be more and more reluctant to leave work each day. It seemed particularly difficult to leave today. I guess it is because of the long 4th of July weekend I just spent with my daughter visiting my brother and his family in Indiana. It was near perfect weather, with only a bit of rain on the morning of the 4th, and that quickly dried up as the morning progressed. Neither my daughter nor I wanted to leave.  On the long drive back to Metro Detroit (5 hours) I found myself reflecting on the possibility of actually moving down there, living near my brother, but of course that would require a serious sacrifice — moving away from my daughter. Not sure I could do that.

It’s strange to feel this sudden attachment to my job when so recently, before I knew I was going to lose my job, I was so eager to leave each day — couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there, in fact. I suppose that’s because right now I have no new job to transition to, not yet anyway, and the odds are I won’t by time August 9th rolls around. Still, you never know.

For example: when I returned from 0ur trip to Indiana I had waiting for me in my email in-box an email that could lead to job. It was from a guy that I used to work with at the library. He does work for an import/export company and explained that what he does is similar to the cataloging work that I do now at the library and which he used to do. So… I’m pretty excited about that. Plus I had a plethora of email feeds from job-post sites.

Still, if nothing comes up I’ll probably have to move out of my apartment and back into my  parents’ house. The lease on my apartment is up at the end of September and I don’t feel very comfortable signing a new lease with no full-time job. But at least I have a place to go. I can’t imagine the stress of not having a place to retreat to. The immense pressure to find a job, do something to make money. I mean, the pressure I feel is pretty great already.





MSNBC projects:

Obama: 207

McCain: 135

CNN projects:

Obama: 207

McCain: 95

Florida is looking better all the time for Obama.

Chuck Todd for MSNBC is saying they are not going to attempt to call Indiana until all poll numbers are in.

And Chris Mathews is suggesting that there is not hard evidence that race has really harmed Obama.

Obama in Indiana

Traveled with my wife and daughter to Indiana this past weekend, to visit my brother and his partner and their adopted daughter, who recently moved from the Chicago area to Indianapolis. Indianapolis is a pretty cool town. Not huge, like Chicago, but not small either. I think it has a pop. of about 800,000. I know for sure that their is a cool Children’s Museum because we took my daughter and our niece there on Saturday. Also, Payton seems to be failry popular names for little boys.

Anyhoo… becuase we were traveling and because it is an election year right now I was on the look out for signs, of any kind really not just literally, of where support might be. I have to say that I don’t recall seeing any McCain lawn signs but I did see more than a few bumpers stickers for the Republican candidate. In my brother’s Indianapolis neighborhood, though, I saw at least a half a dozen Obama lawns signs. Of course, Obama is much more likely to garner support in the city and near college towns. And since we were traveling on US Interstates for the most part there wasn’t much chance to see where the smaller towns’ support where was grounded. I’m guessing McCain’s more popular in the rural areas. And as a whole I can’t see Obama winning Indiana in the general election, even if he does end up selecting Indiana Senator Even Bayh for his running mate, as has been rumored he might. I happen to agree with the conventional wisdom that no state was won in a Presidential Election based on the VP. So…

My hope/cynicism level that Obama will be elected President hasn’t changed much. It’s at about 52/48.

Indiana wind farm

Very near the Illinois border I suddenly noticed off in the distance these huge wind turbines turning off in the distance turning in the wind. Just prior I had to slow down to allow a truck hauling some huge piece of equipment to back into a long drive way. From a distance the big piece of equipment looked almost missal-like and I wondered if there were any missal silos nearby. Of course, in retrospect it didn’t make any sense that a missal or part of a missal would be transported without some kind of governmental security escort.

The size of these three-bladed turbines was impressive, and I was perhaps a mile or so away from them. I decided to stop and take some pics, but I don’t think they came out very well. They certainly do not convey the massive size of these things.

You can barely see them. I wished I’d had a better camera. I could have driven closer but I’d already been in the car some 7 or 8 hours and I was only about half way there.

You can see them a little better here. I could certainly understand why this area was selected for a wind farm. The wind was strong and constant.

For this one I stood on the trunk of the car, hoping to get a better shot, but it didn’t really help much.

I got better shots of the road that I’d pulled off on to take the pics.

I’m not sure if this road was on my road map. It was unpaved, just a bed of crushed rock. And it was cool the way it appeared to disappear into the horizon. Something beautiful and foreboding about this image, don’t you think. Not sure if it is clear from this pic but the wind is really blowing the corn, which was perhaps waist high. I wondered what the view down this road would be like when the corn was at full height. Pretty cool I bet.

Here is another shot of the same road, closer to the ground POV.

And a view across the corn field.


Ahhhh, I love the open road.

Look at the sky! And no traffic up ahead.

These pics are from 24, a smaller interstate highways that I picked up in Ft. Wayne. I took this route instead of the turnpike, I-80, which is often overcrowded with traffic, especially near Chicago. I hate traffic, especially while driving my fuel efficient but small car, a Honda Civic. It can be intimidating, if not down right scary. So you can see why I liked driving this road so much. At some points there was not only no traffic up ahead but also none behind either as well as none coming at me in the opposite direction lanes. Very cool. Although a little eerie in away, especially when I could not get a cell phone signal. And all I could see was corn fields.

There was more than just corn fields, though. Lost of nice scenery — trees and fields and pastures with animals. Farm country is cool. This photo doesn’t really do it justice. I took it through the windshield (as I did with the other two) while I was driving — you can see the reflection in the glass there. Of course, I do not recommend that anyone take pics while driving. In any case, it was a nice drive, more leisurely and a lot less stressful as far as I was concerned, if longer, almost 13 hour total in the car instead of 8 the other way. But why is it always necessary to “get there” in such a hurry? Isn’t the journey a big part of the fun? It is for me anyway.

Iowa Road trip pics – Indiana Rest Area

I like silos – the corn and wheat kind, not the nuclear missal end of the world kind. Those suck!

Rest area just in Indiana. I took the pic of corn/grain silo from this rest area. I’ve always like rest areas, ever since I was a kid. It was one of my favorite parts of family trips to West Virginia. But then I liked almost everything about long distance trips in the car. They were exciting and I guess kind of romantic to me, then and now. And rest areas were curious to me because it was a place where all the anonymous people in their cars on the highway could converge. And when I was a kid people often talked to each other, my dad would sometimes anyway, chatting with other men driving their families along the interstates.

I once had an idea for a story that was set at rest area but as with mot of my ideas I never wrote it. I think I recently ran across a short novel or perhaps story collection or something that was entitled Rest Area. So there goes that idea.

The resident squirrels and chipmunks at this rest area had gnawed a hole in this garbage can lip to gain get food. They’ll probably all end up with high blood pressure and other related heart disease.

These little purple wild flowers were in abundance, not only at this rest area but along the interstate as well.

Well, thank you very much. It’s good to be here. So where are you all from and what do you do for a living?