The last few days


Thanks for your patience during my extended absence. I'm fine, just busier than ever with my new job.

The biggest difference between my old job and the new one is that in the old job, there would be 50 people working together on a project extending over the course of a year -- deadline pressure existed, but wasn't an every day occurrence -- while in the new job, tasks are created with a short fuse, and the buck stops with me.

I added a state to the list of those I've visited (only eight more to go) with my first business trip for my new job. The boss didn't think I needed a rental car, and strictly speaking he was right. The local manager was able to pick me up and drop me off at the hotel and take me around for lunch and dinner. The town was small enough that I could get around on my own two feet -- about two miles from the hotel on the interstate to our facility in an old retail building downtown. The main drag connecting the two had the usual assortment of fast food outlets, a Wal-Mart, and The Mall (only one in town, no need for a descriptive name). There were sidewalks the whole distance, which isn't always the case in this part of the country.

One unpleasant thing about walking where 99% of the people are driving is getting catcalls from yoofs in passing vehicles. I never can quite make out what they're saying, but I'm guessing it isn't complimentary. One time I thought I heard "Looking good!" from a pickup full of young women, but that may have been an auditory hallucination.

The first night in town I walked the four miles into town and back out, just to see the town and enjoy the cool evening. The second night I needed a longer Ethernet cable to connect one of the computers to the facility network, so after getting some work done at the hotel, I walked to Wal-Mart, picked up the cable, then trudged on to the facility. I began to notice a burning sensation in my Achilles tendons. After installing the cable, and getting a bite to eat, I started to walk back, but thought better of it when I passed the office for the local cab company. I called the number on the door; the driver came out and drove me the two miles back to the hotel for $6.

That pain revealed another difference between the old job and the new. At the old job, if I got bored or antsy sitting in my cube, I'd take a walk around the sprawling manufacturing plant. If I really needed to blow off steam, I could walk the half-mile circuit around the greenbelt that runs through the industrial park. Over the last four weeks, I haven't done any walking like that -- thus the pain in my under-used calves and Achilles tendons.

It would have been nice to give my aches and pains a rest, but I had to make my way through the Denver airport, and once home it was off to a church father-son campout. My eight-year-old was there already, spending the afternoon riding his bike on the trails. I arrived just in time for the bonfire, roasting marshmallows, and singing. We sang some clever scout song parodies, including "Ghost Chickens in the Sky" with its haunting refrain of "Bok, bok, bok bok!" We sang some praise choruses, and there was a devotional talk on the vastness of space and the greatness of God. We had good sleeping weather. The temperature cooled off, the skies were mostly clear -- in recent years, the event featured a tornado warning and a flood. Pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, another devotional (about Ehud from the book of Judges), then an obstacle relay involving barrels, wheelbarrows, kayaks, bicycles, and running. I gave my aching tendons as much rest as possible and took pictures. My son was one of the kayakers and got stuck a couple of times on half-sunk logs, but before long he got the hang of paddling and steering, and after lunch we both paddled around the pond for a while. It was my son's first campout, and my first campout in a couple of decades, and we both had a great time.

I returned home to an inbox full of tasks that absolutely had to be done by Monday morning. I'm writing this as I'm waiting for some number-crunching to complete.

I'll be on the air in the morning with Elvis Polo on 1170 KFAQ from 5:30 to 7:30 -- he's filling in for Michael DelGiorno and Gwen Freeman, who have the day off. Blogging will continue to be light for the forseeable future, but I will do my best to post something every day. I have plenty to say, but not much time for saying it.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 22, 2005 11:34 PM.

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