Friday, May 28, 2010

Will today be a Triumph of Hope over Experience?

I am heading to Decatur this afternoon to visit my dear friend Leslie and her family for part of the weekend.

It's been too many moons since I last got the chance to visit with them and so I am making the 18 mile sojourn to Decatur to catch up with her and family as well as attend the Decatur Arts Festival tomorrow morning.

The plan is that I'll catch the 12:05 bus (of course one never knows when it will actually show up) and then Marta to Decatur, where Leslie will pick me up and ferry back to her shady little cottage for an evening of chatting and croquet.

According to Marta, this little voyage should take me 1 hour and 16 minutes start to finish. Don't believe me? See for yourself -

Route(s)
Depart
Arrive
Duration
Transfer
Walk
Fare
105*So, RED*So, BLUE*Ea12:16p1:32p7620.90 miles$2.00

That being said, I'd venture to guess it will take me close to 2.5 hours to actually get there.

Care to wager a guess on how long you think it will take? If so, post your guess in the Comments section.

I'll report back later today or tomorrow and let you know the actual travel time. The winner closest to the actual time will receive a packet of Pop Rocks and a somberero for their efforts.

Game on!

This is how I felt about MARTA on Thursday

Why am I hater today?

Because it took me ONE HOUR and 15 MINUTES to go 1.3 miles.

I decided not to walk because it was super hot and I didn't want to be a sweaty mess upon arrivial at my destination.

After standing in the beating sun for two different buses - neither of which were following any SORT of schedule - I now know that a) I would have made it to my destination faster on foot and b) I wouldn't have looked any worse than I was after disembarked from the Route 87 bus.

Watch the clip below and if you substitute MARTA for Yvette you'll get an understanding of how yesterday went for me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost

By and large, I was pleased with the finale.

Sure it was flawed...just like life.

For a much more robust breakdown of the last show visit this very insightful blog:


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oscar Mayer, you are THE MAN

Enter here for a chance to ride in the Wienermobile!


And y'all thought I was joking when I referenced driving the Wienermobile as a possible new job!

Do What You Like and Like What You Do

As I typed my "Things I'd do if I didn't have to Work and Money was not an Issue" list one theme seemed to jump out to me.

Travel. I like to travel. A lot. And I am pretty open to going just about anywhere at just about any time.

So what does that mean?

It means I just applied for a position with AirTran Airways.

In the words of REO Speedwagon perhaps it's time for me to fly..even though the job I applied for is on the ground.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

When I started the use of mass transit last August, I started compiling lists. Of books to read, of chores to do, errands to run.

My favorite list is the one entitled, "Things I'd do if I didn't have to Work and Money was not an Issue." It's comprised of the following:
  • Be a storm chaser;
  • Take the Jane Austen Society of North America annual trip to Britain;
  • Learn how to sail a tall ship;
  • Visit Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Mount Rushmore and Glacier National Park. Actually, I'd like to visit all the national parks out west;
  • Do a cattle drive;
  • Travel across Europe via rail;
  • Visit all MLB parks and attend a home game;
  • Photograph all the US lighthouses;
  • Travel to Prince Edward Island for the Anne of Green Gables tour;
  • Take a Rhine River Cruise and attend Oktoberfest in Munich;
  • Be in Pamplona for the running of the bulls (I always wanted to participate in this but women aren't allowed to do so. Boooooo);
  • Visit Versailles, Nice, and Marseilles;
  • Go on an African Safari;
  • Carry the torch as part of the Olympic Relay (I can self nominate for this honor but that seems a bit disingenuous to me)
A rather lenghty list...and one that involves a lot of travel. Anyone out there know someone at the Travel Channel? Maybe they'd like to fund and film my adventures?

Chances of that are slim so I've decided to expand my job search to the airline industry.

And while I figure out where I'll land in the next phase of my career, I'll remember the words of a very wise Cinderella:
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What can I do you for Deep Dish?

Sawyer to Hurley. If you don't know who those folks are you can skip this post.





Lloyd Dobler explains what he wants to do with his life

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

My parents, that is.

As I mentioned yesterday, I told my siblings of my layoff almost immediately. I mainly did this because they emailed me from time to time at work. And they are a smart bunch...so if they had received a "delivery failure" notice they would have figured it out on their own.

Fortunately, neither of my parents use email (Dad's not a computer guy; Mom's very computer savvy but she's currently without a computer..and she chooses not to use the community computer where she lives.)

That being the case, I opted to delay telling the folks for two very important reasons:
1 -They would panic and launch into a litany of questions that I would have no answers for...thus stressing ME out; and
2 - They would be upset; not with me...but with the company I had worked for for rejecting me. And then they'd want to know who else knew the news. And then she'd get all weepy.

Reason 1 applies to my Dad; Reason 2 applies to my Mom.

And I knew not telling them was a gamble. I figured my Dad would call the office at some point during the week (sidebar - I NEVER called him at his office to chit chat. If I called I was in trouble, sick or needed permission for something. Now that HE's retired he's all Chatty Cathy.) and so he might stumble upon the truth.

On the other hand, my Mom never calls me at work unless someone is sick and death is imminent. And no, I am not exaggerating.

So, long about 4:30 on Friday when my phone rang and I saw it was my Dad, I knew the gig was up.

It happened just as I thought it would. My cousin Scott left a message for my Dad about something and he didn't leave his phone number on the machine. And naturally, my Dad didn't have Scott's number so he called me to get it. And when he entered my extension number, he got the general WPM message...not my greeting. So he hung up and called my cell phone.

I have to say he took the news rather well. He'd been aware of situation at work for sometime so I don't think he was terribly shocked by the news. And he managed to NOT bombard me with too many questions. Which I really appreciated. He told me I could move home if I needed to; that he'd help in anyway he could. And really that was all I needed to hear.

I told him I hadn't told my mother yet and that I had planned to wait until Monday as I didn't want to ruin her Mother's Day. He surprised me again when he said, "Yes, that is probably a good idea."

Monday rolled around and I called my Mom that morning and told her the news. She too reacted just as I thought she would.

She was upset, she was angry, then she wanted to know who else knew. Translation - she was going to be pissed at my sisters if she discovered they had known for a week and hadn't told her. Fortunately this wasn't my first rodeo and I knew how to sidestep the question and not sell out my sisters in the process. She managed not to cry....at least not while on the phone with me.

With the cat finally out of the bag, I then returned to my computer to start the search for the next phase of my life.

The world is my oyster...and it just so happens that I love oysters.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Day After The Layoff

So, as you know I was laid off Tuesday, May 5th. I wasn't shocked. I wasn't upset. I actually am looking at this as a great opportunity to figure out what I want to do, who I want to do it for, and where I want to do it from.

All I did Tuesday afternoon was say goodbye to my co-workers, pack up 8 years of stuff I collected at the office, alerted my siblings to the change in my employment status (I decided to wait to tell my parents...more on that later). I took calls from my sisters and from my two BFF back home (who are also like sisters) and then just chilled out. I met up with my friend Katie and we watched Lost like we always do.

The day after a lay off is always an interesting day. Some people might think that with no job there is nothing to do.

They'd be wrong.

Given that I had to get to unemployment to file my claim, get to the bank to deposit checks, get business cards made and then make my way to the SAME (www.same.org) event downtown that night, I, for one, was not lacking for things to do.

I opted to rent a car so I could get hither and yon without having to use Marta to get all over town. While I am sure I could have used transit to get all of this done, I knew it would take three times as long going that route.

The guys at Enterprise picked me up and when they found out I was using the car to take care of unemployment issues they totally hooked me up with a discount. A pleasant surprise to start my day.

With the car secured, I headed to unemployment over off of North Druid Hills. I arrived just before 9AM. I figured that arriving early would mean that I'd beat the crowd and be in and out in no time at all.

While I did beat the crowd doing so had no impact on the amount of time I spent at the Georgia Department of Labor.

I got through the first station with little fanfare and was hoping I'd be out of there well before lunchtime.

Not so much.

After three hours - the majority of which was spent sitting and waiting - I was finally finished. I actually asked if THEY were hiring because I am certain that I could use my skill set to fashion a faster, more efficient method of enrollment.

And FYI - you can't take anything to drink or eat into the unemployment office. So, by the time I was done I was irritated, thirsty, and hungry. Yay me.

From there I went to Office Depot to secure business cards sporting my personal information. Figured it would be good to have these to help in the job hunt. Also, I was headed to an evening networking event at the SAME conference and I needed something to hand out to potential employers.

I designed the cards in about 10 minutes and ordered them. After shelling out $13 I was told to come back in an hour to retrieve them.

Once done at Office Depot, I visited my bank to deposit my final paycheck, my severance, etc. I didn't think this would be a big deal at all.

Again, I was wrong.

I filled out the deposit slip with a request for $40 cash back and then stood in line. For about 20 minutes.

Finally, I get up to the counter and as luck would have it I have the new kid on the block waiting on me. And I am not talking about Donnie Wahlberg.

After considerable drama regarding the size of the checks, how they couldn't give me $40 until they verified the company could cover the checks - and that would take until Friday - I changed my mind and then just told them to deposit all the checks and I'd hit the ATM out front to get cash.

The above paragraph took me one minute to type. The actual real life exchange? 25 minutes.

With the checks deposited I gathered my gear and headed to the ATM out front. Wouldn't you know it, the machine wasn't working.

Of course it wasn't.

So, back into the bank and back into line where I spent another 20 minutes waiting for the chance to write a check to CASH.

Mind you, I am still hungry and thirsty. And oh yeah, also irritated.

Finally finished at the bank I decide to grab a slice of pizza at Johnny's, which is directly behind the bank.

I get there only to discover they are no longer open.

Of course they aren't.

I finally caved and hit Wendy's as a) I was about to gnaw my own arm off and b) I was at the point of losing it. I was ready to sell my soul to the Devil for a swig of Diet Coke.

Lunch finished, I headed back to Office Depot to get the cards. I snagged them and headed back home.

Once home I packed a bag and got ready to head down to the networking event.

I made my way to Marta and since it wasn't rush hour I waited and waited and waited for a train.

Meanwhile, it was roughly 412 degrees in the station. So glad I took the time to shower and do my makeup. I'm sure I looked like Heath Ledger's Joker by the time I got to the Omni.

I finally arrived at the hotel where I was greeted by my jovial and always helpful friend Beth who welcomed me with a smile and a glass of red wine.

That night I met too many people to count and went from party to party hearing fascinating stories about Desert Storm and West Point and environmental waste solutions. I even managed to score a sombrero from another conference attendee. I also got some job leads and lots of free drinks.

And really, what more can a girl as for.




Monday, May 10, 2010

Well, ain't THAT a kick in the head

My former employer received word today that after a year of me requesting a ZIP CAR at the Colony Square deck they are finally placing one there.

My reaction, "of course they are!"

Fitting, since I was the only employee who used their service...and now I no longer work there.

Impeccable timing.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

104 - The Fat Lady Has Sung

In short, I was laid off today.

Ironic since last week I was busy rejoicing about how my bus route had been saved, which would keep my commute tolerable.

Guess I didn't need to worry about that after all.

While I won't be commuting for awhile, I'll be posting about my job hunt as I decide what/search for I want to do next.

But for the next few days I'll be busy doing general housekeeping things like filing for unemployment, getting personal business cards, etc., etc. So I won't be around.

And in the mean time, if anyone knows how I could get a job with the Baltimore Orioles or working for Oscar Meyer driving the WeinerMobile please let me know.

And no, that isn't a joke.



Monday, May 3, 2010

105 - And miles to go before I sleep

Today's title comes from one of my favorite poems. It's titled Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and it was penned by Robert Frost.

It pretty much sums up my daily travel issues and touches on my now all too often bouts with insomnia.

Mr. Frost, you could be living in my head.

Anyway, it was a horrific commuting day today.

It started with all sort of delays on the train system. Read about it here:


On top of the delays that rippled through the system like a pebble that had been tossed into a koi pond, I am, once again, battling insomnia.

So, at 4AM when I was still wide awake and enjoying the vicious electrical storms that tore through town, I emailed my boss and told him that I'd be coming in late. I figured if I could get at least three hours of shut eye I'd be OK.

So, at 9 I dragged myself out of bed and figured I'd make the 10 AM bus...getting me to work just before 11. Which would allow me a little more rest but still get me in the office at a decent hour.

You know how they say if you want to make God laugh tell him about your plans?

Yeah, well the Big Kahuna must have been laughing is regal tail off today.

I get ready and head out. It's raining to beat the band AND it's 95% humidity...so, yours truly, is sweating like a whore in church before I even GET to the bus stop.

Then, the bus shows up 15 minutes late. So we of course get to the station late and miss the 10:30ish train. So there I stand for another 20 minutes waiting to head southbound.

I was not a happy camper.

It took one hour for me to get to the Buckhead station. Which is all of five miles from my house.

I finally got to the office, soaking wet and sweaty, ONE hour and 22 minutes after I departed Chez Cari.

To recap: I am now overheated, aggrivated, damp and running on NO SLEEP. And oh yeah, I didn't eat breakfast either.

Wasn't I just a little ray of sunshine upon my arrival at my office!?

And so, in order to make the time I missed in the morning, I opted to stay until 7 tonight....which meant that since I was not on the rush hour schedule it took me...Anyone? Anyone?.....That's right AN HOUR to get home.

So yeah, as I walked the final leg of the journey home, I thought of Robert Frost and felt his poem was a perfect wrap for this horrific day.

I did have miles to go before I slept, as it were.

The bad news is there is no guarantee of sleep once I finally arrive.




107 - Well, Aren't You Just all Cutting Edge...(4/30/10)

Allow me to introduce you to Trendy McTrenderson.

He's so cool he's got a SARS mask and IPad.

Talk about a Cool Rider.




108 - Allow me to bestow some Praise (4-29-10)

On the Marta bus system today.

As you well know, I've been a pretty harsh critic of the bus route I frequent.

But today, the bus was on my side. So, to counter all the bitching I've done, I'm posting a big THANK YOU to the route 105 driver.

You see, when I left my house a little after 8AM on Thursday I fully anticipated that I'd be walking to the train station. I assumed I'd missed the bus and therefore, I had no choice but to walk.

So, you can imagine my surprise in seeing the bus as I waited to cross the street to get to the sidewalk that leads to the Sandy Springs station.

Even with this stroke of luck I assumed I was SOL as a) I figured the dude didn't see me and b) even if he did see me, he probably didn't care to wait for me to cross the street to board.

Whatever the case, I'm happy to report he did stop and I was able to hop a ride to the station

Of course, the rest of the commute that morning was a nightmare, but on this day, I chose to look at the bright side of things.