Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stolen internet

Here's a quick update! I have one bar of stolen internet and don't know when it will disappear...

1) Ken and I went to see the Dalai Lama at IU. I'll post a photo later, but it was nice to see the smiley old man take off his shoes and chat for a bit about human nature and compassion. Plus it was glorious being able to hang out with Brooke and Mike and hit a Halloween party. And feel really old.

2) The job is going great. I have been incredibly busy and look at the clock thinking, "How did it get to be one already?! Four?! I have so much to do!!!" One of the travel consultants had an emergency and is going to be gone for another week and I have been picking up the work load. It has been tremendously challenging, but I learn something every hour. I've booked hotel rooms at the Four Seasons, communicated with Ground Operators around the world, and have talked with clients. I love the amount of responsibility that they've given me, but am a bit worried when another consultant goes on vacation next week.

3) The apartment is proving to be nice as well. We're having some hot water issues, but being able to walk to the train each morning balances that out. At least for me. Unfortunately Ken is driving a ton each day to his present job and is looking to get something more convenient. We both have joined gyms and have tried to get into a routine. This morning I went to the gym at 5:30 am. We'll see how long that lasts, but it was nice today and I plan on doing it again tomorrow.

Okay, that's all I've got. Happy Halloween! I remember being really depressed about missing the holiday last year in Okinawa. It's nice to be back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Settling in...

I'm still alive, but we don't have internet at our apartment yet. Things are going great. The apartment is suiting our needs, the train is a smooth way to get to work, and my job seems like a good fit thus far. Today I'm helping with Turkey and Egypt itineraries and learning the ropes. I can't email at work except on my breaks, so I apologize for the lack of communication. I should stop blogging now. That has to be against the rules.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

Ahhh...how that song will always remind me of Kimi and Kelli.

Anyways, things are shaping up here as I have made numerous runs to the store to grab all the stuff that I'll need to stock my new place. I had to pledge my second-born child to my parents because of all that they are doing for me. I also had to unpack boxes from my last move over two years ago so that I could see what I already have. I never realized how many picture frames I have. It's slightly embarrassing.

So, here's a funny story. At least I think it's amusing.

Remember how I hurt my knee about 10 days ago? Well, later on that weekend, I noticed that Izzy was showing a bit of a limp. By the next day, she was full-on favoring her front right leg. Mind you, I hurt my right leg. We were both limping around the house and I *swear* that she was imitating me. We have a very close bond afterall. Anyway, after a few days of this, we started getting a bit worried, but thanks to an X-ray and some medicine, the dog is now healing and not limping any more. So now we can truly laugh about it and not throw around big words like elbow dysplasia. That dog loves and adores me.

And our neighbor dog, Rosco, who brings out her inner hoochie.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Can I offer you my firstborn for a spot?

This morning I get a phone message from a guy in Indiana with a study abroad network (Australia and New Zealand) asking me if I had received his email a couple of weeks ago about the job I had applied for. Well, what do you know? It went into my spam folder on October 3rd. I guess there's a reason that it got shuffled out of my inbox, but of course, it makes me wonder about what would have happened if I would have received that email. I was really wanting to get involved with study abroad programs. He said I could give him a call if I need a career change in the future. Ahhhh....Life.... how I love the twists and turns you throw at me regularly.

Yesterday, Dad and I took my new iPass for a spin and went looking for apartments. Dad should get a superhero award for dealing with everything we had to go through. Yay for dads! (And moms!) So we went to the first apartment which was quite near Regan and everything was very normal. It was a bit old and the lady looked like a heart attack waiting to happen as she spewed out the information about the place, but it had a parking spot. So, we're thinking... Great! One option!

We headed to the second which was an old building with hardwood floors, a fireplace, an extra room, a creepy bathroom, but a generally awesome atmosphere. It was within walking distance of the Metra and seemed like an excellent place. But there was no parking and the guy explained how many times I'd have to be moving my car since I would not only need night parking, but day parking since I'd be on the train. Thankfully, Dad was on top of his game yesterday and we went to the Village Hall where we had information thrown at us at an alarming speed about how there are no spots available at night and how you have to have this permit and this permit and move your car from here to here and oh, yes, these things aren't free, and how you can't even have one of these spots until November and that's only for the day time..don't know what you'll do at night.

We walked out dejected. Both places had just been taken off the list because of parking. We headed to our third apartment outside of town and although it was nice enough, I would still have to have a parking spot at the commuter lot for the Metra. We went to another station in another town and they said there was a two year waitlist to get a spot. Two years! So, there went the third apartment and every apartment that would involve driving. By this point, I was beginning to wonder why I passed up on the Oak Brook job. If I took that one, I could live anywhere because I'd be driving. And seriously, Metra! You want more customers? Make MORE parking!!!!

We drove out to Lisle which we had driven through on Sunday and we met a guy at an apartment building directly across from the station. But it was a scary scary place. One apartment was torn to shreds and although the guy said he was improving things and turning out some of the residents, we knew this place was not going to fly with the final decider-- Mom. We needed lunch. We needed to regroup. We needed to examine our options and where else I could live. We needed to see if I could take the bus to the train. We needed Jason from our last apartment building to call us back. We needed a miracle.

As we sat in the van, ready to pull out and start shopping for tents, Jason gave me a call to say he could meet us in 30 minutes. The last chance was directly next to the Metra station and was within my price range. The building looked completely normal with tons and tons of parking. And about a 3 minute walk to the Metra platform. This was it. I told Dad that if the guy was decent (which all the other landlords were a bit quirky/scary) and if the apartment had walls and working plumbing, we were taking it. Well, thank goodness for small miracles! The guy was very friendly and completely approachable... The apartments themselves were clean and mine would have new appliances, new paint, new carpet, etc. I grabbed a credit check sheet and told him we'd take it. And as we drove home, we were all smiles. The trials and tribulations of the day were almost completely forgotten, but we made sure to bring Mom along with us on our emotional journey through our story telling and scaring her by telling her that I was going to stay in a converted motel with boarded up windows.

So, I have a home. I have a job. In three months, I will have insurance. And I will be enjoying public transportation again.

PS --- For those of you job hunting and doubting the powers of monster.com... Three of my five job leads/interviews, including the one I took, were found and applied for on monster. I'm a walking billboard.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Win Win Situation

Today I traveled up to Chicago for my interview with my second job option. I considered all weekend whether I should just cancel it because I was happy with the job in Oak Brook. I thought about my aching knee that was barely functioning, I thought about whether I was wasting their time because I was already sold on the job I already had, and I considered about one thousand other factors. In the end, I decided to see what this place was all about and make sure that I was making the right choice with Oak Brook.

So I suited up and made my way to the Loop. It was fairly easy to find parking at Union Station (which is 1/2 block away from the travel agency) and I quickly found the office. The atmosphere of this place was completely different than that of Oak Brook. Although both deal with five-star travel and the upper 5% of the economic bracket, this office felt much more laidback and the main guy had all sorts of cool travel artifacts around his office. We sat on comfortable couchlike chairs and he offered me coffee. Then we chatted. No drill sergeant questions. No searching for my "most difficult moment at work" or "describing a time I faced adversity in the workplace" or any of that junk (which in Oak Brook they wrote down every word I said in response to about 80 questions). After about 20 minutes, he said, "So what kind of salary do I need to offer you to have you say you'll work here?" I told him about my other job offer (and he worked there previously) ... He was willing to outdo them by a little (which was a nice gesture) and then tried to woo me. He offered me the job on the spot and as I hemmed and hawed about the decision, he asked if speaking to two workers who started in the last year and who didn't have a travel agent background would help. It sure did. I was soon sitting with two nice ladies who I would be working with and we chatted for about 30 minutes about all the different aspects of the job, the clients, the atmosphere, the city. I felt really positive about the job as I left and by the time I got home, I knew which job I was going to take. Thankfully, I knew that my Oak Brook contact was out of the office today so I could just leave a message. It was a difficult decision, but I think choosing the smaller office with a more "family" atmosphere was the right choice. Plus the entry-level job here was just more interesting and involved than the other.

Anyway, I begin in two weeks and since I knew I would be moving soon either way, I spent Sunday combing the western suburbs with Mom and Dad. I love the area near Regan and want to live within walking distance of the Metra so that I never really have to drive. (I *heart* public transportation!) By taking my Chicago job, I get an extra week to find a great place to live and perhaps even locate a couch and queen-size bed! (Anyone have some furniture to get rid of?!) I'm excited to begin this next chapter in my life and I hear that the coffee at this office is phenomenal and free, plus there is often freshly-baked banana bread. Oh, yeah, and I am going to be immersed in creating "unusual" trips for very very very rich folks. The sky is the limit with other people's money. Anyone want to take a private jet adventure? I'm your girl.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dogsitter no more

Hey there, my faithful readers. Thank you for being with me as I explored daytime television, the beginning and end of the internet, and all the glorious bad habits that you can teach a dog in a day. And now, after 2.5 months of being home and refusing to substitute teach, I have a job. Or maybe two!

My job in the 'burbs called me back a few minutes ago and officially offered me a position at their company. And I have to say that the company I am interviewing for on Monday has a lot to live up to. My gut is in a bit of turmoil, but I think it's leaning towards Oak Brook. And this place has a gym in the basement which is excellent and previously unknown news! I think that might have swayed me more than anything.

So, I'm going into my weekend with a smile on my face. I start on the 15th if I accept their offer, which means that I will need to locate an apartment and get moving quickly, unless Regan can take on another resident along with her baby and husband. I was supposed to head to Valpo this weekend for my 5 year reunion, but this morning I slid on some water and recreated Laura's wedding with another injured knee. Despite the pain and the sadness of maybe not being able to see Tammy, I'm pretty excited about having a job. And not just a job. Perhaps a career. Which is a completely different thing.

And because I need an image to break up this blog... I present this hot photo of a former couch potato.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Job Hunt Update ... Part 85 .... and 86

UPDATE for an update!!!

*** Just got a call from 'burbs place and he is almost sure that he will have a job to offer me tomorrow. Why would he call tonight if he won't have one for sure? That would be cruel. So, I'm pretty sure I am employed.... But I am also going to head out to the Monday interview and see how it compares. I was really thrilled with my interview and the people at the first job so either way this is all going to work out. I hope. If not.... I'm going to scream!***

Okay, so here's the breakdown.

The job that I interviewed for with the luxury travel company in the 'burbs never got back to me...a week after they said they would make their decision. No letter. Nothing. So I emailed yesterday and they haven't made their decision yet, so I might still have a chance for that position.

The phone interview/Denver folks are supposed to get back to me in the next week or so to schedule an in-person interview in November... if I didn't bomb the prelims. So, I'm still waiting.

I had given up on other jobs and then on a whim today applied with a travel company in Chicago. Ten minutes later I got a call from a head honcho who just received my info and I have an interview on Monday! This job is almost identical to the first one...luxury travel...five star arrangements...entry-level assistant. But it's downtown! Like DOWNTOWN Chicago! Exciting! Anyways, I'm thrilled to have yet another back-up.

Let's hear it for people calling back!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two new loves---

I want these Nikes. I could totally rock some striped knee highs.

Need some new music to listen to at work or at home? At pandora.com, you just type in what kind of music you like and they tune you into radio stations that match your style. Love this!

You know, if I had a job, I wouldn't have so much time to roam the internet. And that would be a shame. I should look at the positive side of unemployment!