Sunday, April 29, 2007


This weekend's been quite busy for both of us, between graduation, mowing, and cleaning the house.

Oh yeah ... and recovering from my first day on the job. I may not have been the fastest trainee, but I managed to make it through the shift. Some thoughts on that:

Manufacturing work is like being inside a casino: there are no clocks in the manufacturing area, which means you tend to lose track of time. The shift went from 7 until 3, with a morning break and a lunch break, but it felt longer.

Of course, when you spend several hours packing boxes, loading double AA batteries into blister packs, or loading the blister packs into the rotary turntable to be sealed, it does wear on you.

Lauren got to do something special, however: she carried the banner for her college and led the undergraduates into the arena for graduation:

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Today was my first experience with manufacturing work: a local temp firm held a cattle call for the local Energizer battery factory, and I made the cut to start tomorrow morning on 1st shift. Yes, I'm glad, because it's work, even though it's part-time and temporary (in other words, it will last as long as the work is there). I do hope to find something better for the long-term, and I am still looking, but at least the job drought is broken.

My initial impressions:

1)Discomfort: We stood outside in the cold, damp, and drizzly air and froze outside the employee entrance to the plant for about 20 minutes, because they started the orientation 12 minutes late.
2)Fear: like it or not, it's manufacturing work, and despite the facility's near-perfect safety record, there are a lot of ways to get hurt there. And there's a little bit of fear of failure, too: I don't want to fail, but I've never done manufacturing work before; I'll do the best I can with it, but I'm not sure how well I'll do.

It is a bit of a rude shock going from white-collar down to blue, and Lauren is sorry that I have to take work that isn't that desirable. But at this point, we don't have much of a choice: starting this month, it's costing us an extra $600.00 a month to put me on Lauren's health insurance. While it's very good coverage, the expense is really eating a chunk out of our monthly finances for now, and anything that can help toward that is welcome. Still, it's not the ideal job, and because it's temp work, it probably pays nowhere near what I'm used to making.

But at least it's something until something better comes along.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Moving Forward

Well, it's been a busy, productive, disappointing, unnerving, but overall good week so far, for various reasons:

1)Busy - Lauren had her annual review at work, and it went really really well. There are a few things that suggest they are grooming her for something bigger and better, so that's a good sign.
2)Productive - we both got our taxes in. I'm going to get a small refund (no small feat given how much I paid in tax and withholding), and Lauren will likely get an adjustment, because she forgot to file for the energy efficiency credit. That will get back most of what she paid in Federal this year.
3)Disappointing - because I didn't get the job I interviewed for earlier this month. Nothing wrong with me as a candidate; in fact, the interviewers commented that I interviewed well and would be a good fit for their company. However, the fact that I would have to commute down to KC did factor into their decision. It's a little frustrating; the local job market (poor as it is) is taken up by college students from campus, and for those jobs that I've applied for, I think I'm being considered too overqualified for them. I just have to keep looking.
4)Unnerving - because the events at Virginia Tech made me think about something that ordinarily no one should think about (i.e., the safety of your spouse). Granted, something like that probably would never happen here in Maryville: the staff at Northwest are well-trained and prepared, and the students (at least those I've met) are all good people. But still, it raised a worry that for me that I hadn't dealt with since working in a high school following Columbine: the tendency that you take the safety of your workplace (or your wife's workplace) for granted, and seeing events like that play out on a college campus are a little unsettling. And yes, my sympathies and prayers go out to the families of those killed or injured. No one should have to go through that kind of tragedy. Ever.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taxing Weekend

Quick note: This weekend's been a bit busy for both of us. Thankfully, it didn't rain or snow as Weather Channel had forecasted, so Lauren and I were finally able to get outside and start gardening and mulching.

I'm still waiting to hear back on the interviews, and in the meantime, we're both filing our taxes and sweating out how much we both owe. We'll make it until Lauren gets paid again, but it's going to be a near thing to the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wedding Pics Now Posted

The first batch of pics from our wedding are now online. To reach them, simply find our online photo album here:

We're not done resizing and posting yet; I hope to get to that later this evening.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Food Notes: Bubba's and Ali's Bakery

Just a couple of in-town notes on current/ongoing favorites:

1)Bubba's, the award-winning BBQ restaurant, is now offering $9.00 buffet-style orders on Sundays ... since the place isn't big enough to hold a full buffet line, what this means is that for $9.00, any item on the menu board (assuming it's available) is available for multiple trips. We like it because it allows us to try out items that we don't order that much (such as the rib tips appetizer).

2)Lauren's Egyptian baker friend Ali, who formerly had a small place in Burlington Junction, has now opened a small bakery at the back of Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant (the small restaurant on Main across from what used to be the Subway). We stopped off this morning for coffee and some of his pastries (apple fritter and filled donut), which were some of the best scratch pastries that we've ever had. Oh, and Ali also does breads as well. Ali's hours, in his words, go like this: "We're open at 6 until about 2. But if I'm here, and someone wants something (for example, later in the afternoon), I'll open".

Wedding Photos

The wedding pictures finally came back, and our photographer did an outstanding job. Lauren has been busy sorting and printing pictures (her coworkers asked to see a small sample of the prints, but our old HP photo printer died, so we had to purchase one). On my part, I've been preparing for and off to a job interview in KC Monday and Tuesday, so that's why they haven't been posted to the weblog yet. We will post the pics as soon as we possibly can, so please bear with us. Thanks!