Sunday, October 21, 2007

Driving Me Crazy

Since starting my newest assignment a little over a month and a half ago in downtown Portland I have experienced a new joy: our light rail system, lovingly called MAX (Merto Area Transit).

At 7 in the morning I leave my house, still encased in the morning darkness of early fall, I have an easy drive with nice light traffic. The opposite is usually the case once I get on the train. The start of the week is normally fuller than the end, but by the time I get on there is little chance of me getting a seat let alone finding an open wall to lean against while I read. It pleases me from an ecological sense that so many people take advantage of this form of transportation rather than driving to downtown.

My choice to take the MAX every day instead of driving was both ecological as well as economical. I'll be honest, it's more so the latter if one takes the following into consideration. Gas is now at $2.95/gallon and the drive is 10 miles each way, parking downtown can be a little stressful to find first of all and can cost upwards of $10 a day, taking all of that into consideration driving myself downtown could get expensive really quickly and I would like to keep more of my paycheck. At $2.05 per ride (less if a monthly pass is purchased and you ride the MAX more than 37 times in a month), and for me a three mile drive to the station, the exchange is well worth it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

At the tone you know what to do...

After calling people almost all day everyday for the past few weeks and for the most part getting an answering machine message I have a few observations to make. One: The prerecorded message that comes with the machine is very annoying. Two: do not have your small children make the message, yes it's cute the first time but after that I really would prefer just about anything else. Three: Do NOT just record your favorite song for your message, I do not want to sit there and listen to Beyonce or George Straight for a minute just because it's YOUR favorite song.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ship This!

I spent about half of my day today on the phone with various "representatives" of Fed Ex trying to track down five packages that have no shipping history after being picked up each over a week ago. Let me tell you, they must be having some serious problems with their package tracking systems because of these five packages three were express shipping, two were ground shipping and none could be found. Mind you these were not the only packages we were having picked up and being neither on the sending or receiving end we really are flying blindly as to what the website or our shippers are telling us. Of the three express packages, one was picked up and never scanned again, one was never actually picked up (yet was scanned as such on the website), and yet another was confused for a ground package and delayed. The two actual ground packages I have no actual hope of ever tracking down though the (mostly) kind people on the other end of the phone seemed to assure me other wise. I say mostly kind because there was one gentleman I encountered in my five or so phone calls today that did not in any way seem helpful or willing to divulge information that many of the other representatives had given me freely, like the case number. I had another one who was quite genial but disconnected our phone call after putting me on hold for ten minutes. All in all I am not dissatisfied with my phone conversations as I, for the most part, got the information and assistance I was seeking but all in all my faith in their abilities to keep track of a package are dwindling rapidly.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Workin' at the Car Wash

I think everything comes down to whether you are willing to put the time and effort in to it. As I mentioned in a post not too long ago, I have a Beetle. Well, as it happens my car got dirty in the two months I have called her mine. Something I have noticed with this car is that the color shows dirt a lot sooner than my other car did. Not nearly as badly as my husband's "atomic blue" Civic though. So, after a trip to Cost-co and the grocery store we decided the weather was nice enough and would stay nice long enough for it to be worthwhile to bathe our respective vehicles.

It's been a good while since I've sudsed up my own vehicle, although it is really not all that complicated my husband likes to make it that way. "You have to spray in an up and down motion to get the dirt to run off properly, and then wash in a circular motion. Most importantly when you're drying go top to bottom in one smooth line so that it won't streak," he instructs me. I didn't realize that this process was so complicated. It would be a lot easier if I just took it to the car wash down the road.

The most complicated part of washing my car myself is that we live in an apartment complex. I suspect that our strutting around to "Sympathy for the Devil" as we go through the appropriate movements involved in washing a vehicle in the complex's shared space where we all spend as little time as possible on a regular basis can cause a mixture of emotions. I can never tell if it amuses or annoys our neighbors when we get around to doing this, perhaps it's a fair blend of both.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Ballad of the Unemployeed

I find myself once again in the realm of unemployment. I have always thought of myself as a diligent, hard working employee, some one that an employer would be proud to have on staff. But in the past year I have discovered myself to be ... lacking. Now, I don't quite know for sure if the jobs that I've had while in this area just don't suit me and my skill set but nothing has lasted. Is it really too much to ask for a little stability? I suppose it is probably my own fault for jumping headlong in to things that really aren't my forte and end up being unhappy and not putting my best effort in to things.

Today I went back to a temp agency that I had done some work for last year and got a brief assignment to watch the phones at University of Phoenix for five hours this evening, purely by chance. I answered the phone all of four times this evening and spent the rest of the evening going through anything remotely interesting to me in the Oregonian from Friday and today. My other success was drawing a beautiful picture on a post it note as well as getting hit on by two of the male students. Oh yeah, get a little padding for the bank account and get an ego boost to go ;-)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Year in Review

Has it really been a year already? I'm not going to be cliche and say that it seems like just yesterday I was walking down the isle to become a Mrs., but holy cow it doesn't seem like that long ago. Perhaps that's a good thing.

Ben and I got married on what was very near to our three year "getting together" anniversary, so it seems that this past year might just be another tally wherever we happen to be keeping track. But this past year was so much more than that. We redefined ourselves as a married couple, no longer just two individuals who happen to be living together but something so much more than that. It seems that people expect so much more from you as a married couple, when in reality nothing really changed except that we got up in front of our friends and family and made it official. Or has it?

A week ago Ben and I had the pleasure of participating in a good friend's wedding. This was the first wedding that we had attended since exchanging our own vows. While I was listening to the happy couple say their "I dos" I couldn't help but think of our own moments where we had to be strong for each other and others where we made each other laugh uncontrollably. I can't put in to words how I feel about the man that I call my husband, all I can say is that I'm blessed to have this man in my life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

With the population boom, I don't think I need to help

I would like to start off by saying that this is in no way a personal judgment on anyone with children or planning to have children. This is a topic that has come up for me quite regularly and I thought I would write out my thoughts on it.

I've been married for almost a year now, and since the day I became engaged the question that almost immediately would follow was: "when do you plan to have children?". Our initial response was usually "about two years" or "when we're ready". Much like the rhyme from childhood (First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby...), that's the natural progression of things. But what the rhyme leaves out is what comes after the baby, and that's often what I think about. For the past few years I have worked in retail, and I have seen some very unhappy mothers with children in tow. Each time I would see someone in that situation I would shrink back and think to myself that I don't want it to be me. I don't want to be the soccer mom grudgingly dragging her children from one activity to the next and living only for the children. To be fair, I have seen some very happy mothers, and seeing them gave me the warm fuzzy feeling that my friend calls "the baby oggle". In that moment I see the happier side: playing with the child, and bonding on hiking trips etc. The happy ideas have yet to overcome the unhappy ones. I'm told that one day my biologics will over ride my brain and I will want a child no matter what; I don't know if that is true or not, but what I do know is my brain keeps screaming no every time a small child starts to cry. There's more to it than that.

At this point in my life, I have to ask myself if I really want someone that dependent on me and my time. I still want to travel the world, I want to learn, I want to be able to take off to the beach at a moments notice because I can and not have to worry about the responsibility yet. On top of that, children are expensive. Financing someone else's future is really something that I won't take lightly and I know that if I want to bring another life in to this world our financial status will have to change.

It all comes down to two things: maturity and financial readiness. Neither are present in my life at the moment, so then having a child isn't really an option either.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Little Orange Beetle, That's how I roll

I got my first car not too long ago. I was fortunate enough to inherit an operational vehicle that wasn't in anyway embarrassing for me to get to and fro in. This vehicle was a 1995 Nissan Altima in the color of "Champagne Beige". Really, no one can complain about receiving a vehicle for practically nothing that requires little to no upkeep. One thing I would have cause to comment on: this vehicle had the outward personality of a rock. Meaning: Yeah, it was a car and it got me where I needed to go but it was not really distinguishable from any other car similar to it on the road.

I was in a position as of late to replace the '95 Altima. Mind you, I was in no real hurry to do so as it was completely paid off and the insurance premium on it was low, but because the car was near to twelve years old the repairs were getting such that they would be equal to payments on a newer vehicle and the stress factor was immeasurable. So at the end of June my husband and I began a vigilant search for a newer affordable vehicle for me. To be honest, I had no specific car in mind though I did have certain criteria it should meet: price, gas millage, year, and condition.

All in all I came out with a car that I've been dreaming of since I realized it's existence: a VW Beetle. The lot where I found her had three used Beetles, one silver, one light blue convertible, and an orange one with "all the fixin's". Now, in my personal opinion if you are going to drive a vehicle like the Beetle (or any other vehicle that's highly identifiable) one should really get it in a fun color. So that automatically nixed the silver one as an option. Secondly, I live in Portland, Oregon where if you're really lucky you get a good three months without rain, thusly making the convertible an impractical option. This put me squarely in the driver's seat of what I now consider to be my dream car. Not only is my 2003 VW New Beetle in Sundown Orange fun to drive, and highly maneuverable, but it's got personality. And I'm proud to say that I have only seen three others in the Portland area with the same make model and color option. As silly as this may sound, that means a lot to me.