The 5 am Alarm

So my alarm clock is set to go off in 5 hours so I can make the trek north and finish out my week at the office. I was fortunate to be able to catch some baseball while in town. Tonight was a home game. A tough rival. Our boys pulled out the win in extra innings. 

Baseball is a love of mine. Not the major leagues per we, although I enjoy my share of those games too, but town ball, youth baseball, traveling baseball…those I really love. There are really only three things I need to enjoy myself – flip flops, sunflower seeds and my camera. I don’t sit down much. I usually shoot 200-300 pix per game. Right now I’m trying to pull enough together for senior gifts later in the season. I’m on a mission. 

We are struggling to find a town team for my son for the summer. Here in the city there are several teams at each age level and every area town pretty much has a team. Up north you might have one team for every five towns. They are hard to find. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will find a team to land on this summer. For him it is the love of the sport and the ability to make friends and meet new people. For me – well I need to work on that flip flop tan. 

Virtual Office

Until I move I have the luxury (or curse) of working from home two days a week. Today was one of those days. On a positive note I can work in my sweatpants and don’t have to shower or do my hair. I had the TV cable disconnected which greatly minimizes distractions. I stay pretty focused with just the radio playing in the background. 

Today is looked like my office threw up in my living room. There were papers and binders everywhere. I have a massive project I am trying to get wrapped up before returning to my brick and mortar office. Also today I was able to have lunch with a friend of mine – we went for sushi! It was a short lunch but enjoyable nonetheless. I even got dressed and did my hair. Ha!

One final luxury – Caribou Coffee. I got some before I came home. That was a treat!  You wouldn’t think either of those were a big deal but I know how far both of them will be from me when I move so I am enjoying them while I can. There are some aspects of the big city that will be a bit harder to live without. 

Tomorrow I have one more day from the living room office before heading to the north woods. The house here should be ready to list this weekend after a good cleaning. We got the trailer packed from floor to ceiling yesterday. It was secured and safely delivered today. I will also be able to attend my son’s baseball game tomorrow, weather permitting. It is sad to see this chapter coming to an end but a new one awaits. 

Boxes. Boxes. Boxes.  

I like to think I’m a minimalist most of the time. I have a few bad habits. Because I love to cook and because I have lived in a small town before my pantry is a precious thing for me. I like to have one of everything just in case. The basics. My pantry will be the last thing I pack and move. Right now I’m trying to get good about using what I have but a trip to the grocery store costs me over $100 every time. 

Today is about all the other rooms in the house. I go back and forth between the living room, bedroom, kitchen and office. Bathroom is mostly done. Have yet to tackle the downstairs living room. I like to be strategic about my packing. Everything is well labeled with who it belongs to, what it contains, what room is goes to and the floor that room is located on (in the new house). 

I can tell I’m getting tired and this is wearing on me because I’m getting lazy with my labeling. There is still enough information to know where it goes but the rest might remain a mystery. 

It is gorgeous outside today. It is over 70 degrees and sunny. I have the house open. Today is one more f those days you wish you could sit in a lawn chair with a drink in hand. Each time those thoughts appear in my head I think about my future and remind myself there will be plenty of time for that later. For now – it’s packing tape and sharpie pens. The trailer will be here soon. I best get back to work. 

The Price of Progress

So my husband and I don’t live in the same house most of the time. It’s the price we pay for our careers. That will soon end with our upcoming move to the north woods. Between now and then we need to put up field stone on the new house and get the current house market ready. So, the separation continues for a few more months. 

Tomorrow I will be spending my day doing home improvement projects, boxing up my life and cleaning. I might do some work work in between all that too. My husband will be spending the day with my dad laying stone. It is going to be marvelous when it is finished. There is such pride in being able to do something yourself, especially something so massive and decorative. It’s the centerpiece of our new home. I will be helping soon once our home in the city goes on the market. My goal – sell it in under 14 days.  

My husband will come home Saturday night with a truck and enclosed trailer. Sunday will be spent loading. That’s our one day together this week, then back to work. We are fortunate that we are both handy in different ways. You have to be a little resourceful moving to the country. The hardware store, the bank, the grocery store and the gas station – they are several miles away – not a few blocks like they are now. 

Say Cheese

Yesterday included one of those activities I really dread, having my picture taken. It’s a small town so the photographer’s studio was three towns over, about a 30 minute drive. On the way over and back I was trying to make mental notes about locations of things I might want to research or check out later. The ladies at the office made a point to say that this town has a Walmart (which I interpreted as “it is large enough to have a…”). A theme I have noted as I drive north and back home every week is that every other town seems to have a Dairy Queen. Down here every other town has a McDonalds. I guess you are a big town if you have both. 

The studio was on Main Street. It is a cute area. In addition to the studio, they have a hardware store, a shoe store, a gift store, a cafe, a pizza place, a bank, a formal wear store and a jewelry store all on the main drag. It was like a step back in time. You have to cross the railroad tracks to get there. Kind of makes you wonder if you were to get stopped for a train would you just pull over and do some shopping? 

The lady at the studio was very nice and professional. After I was done I explored about a four block radius and hit the McDonalds drive through for some coffee before returning to the office. 

I still didn’t like my picture very much but I never do. 

New Hire Fish Fry

I failed to mention that I work from home two days per week because we haven’t officially moved yet. Since I am a manager level employee in a people facing role I hung a flyer on my door called “I’d like to introduce myself”. It contained a bunch of get to know me stuff and pictures. I have used this tool before as a way to get to know people in a more personal level. 

This morning at the office as I was greeted by a coworker who asked me about my love for fishing. I do indeed love to fish. I was informed that he hosts a fish fry at the office for new hires. Not my typical get to know you lunch but I was intrigued. They have it on site. You don’t have to bring anything. Just have to RSVP so he knows how many will be there. Later that morning I, along with several other new employees, received an email invitation to this event. 

Unfortunately, it is a day I work from home and will not be able to attend. But I have been promised that I can stay on the list for a future event. I will look forward to that opportunity!

Originality. Outstanding. You know you are not in the big city any more when…

What Was I Thinking?

The transition to small town living has begun. I just finished my first week at a new job. It was the one element of my life I didn’t intend to change. It was just in the cards. While we had been planning our move for close to three years I had always thought I would stay in my current role and just transfer to a different location. That changed a few months ago when an opportunity landed in my inbox that I just couldn’t ignore. I told my husband that opportunities like this one don’t come around every day and if I don’t at least apply I will always wonder if I could have got the job.

That was a few months ago. It was a very robust interview process. The interviews consisted of a nine person panel from across the organization. I had two interviews with them, one of which required me to give a 10 minute presentation. My final meeting was with the Executive Director. That’s when I knew that I could definitely work here! When word came that they wanted to hire me I think I was in shock. While it was a job I wanted, I hadn’t prepared myself for having to say goodbye to my current employer. I had been there well over 10 years. I had grown to be friends with many of my coworkers. Nothing up to this point could prepare me for how hard this conversation was going to be. Very simply, it sucked.

Looking back now, a week into the new job, it all makes sense.  Over the past two years I had the opportunity to hire 4 outstanding employees and build a very talented team. My departure provided them opportunity to learn and grow. It was also an opportunity for the organization to learn and grow. I had been in my role a long time. I built the department. It took two people to replace me.

During the final four weeks I tried to write down all the things in my head. It wasn’t easy. I worked until the very last minute of the very last day. I didn’t even have time to think about my new job until last weekend. Also, over the past four weeks, I took two trips to my new employer to sit on an interview panel to select and hire an employee in my department. That was incredibly weird. While I didn’t even work there yet, there I was sitting in my new office and participating in panel interviews. It was a unique opportunity and said a lot about the awesomeness of the organization I was joining.

Last week I got a sassy new haircut and dyed my hair back to its original color. I was pumped up and ready to go on Monday. The first week has now ended.  I am super excited about this wonderful opportunity to use my strengths to help a new organization. I’ve jumped in with both feet. I had several people ask me this week if I was drinking from a fire hose. The Executive Director even added in some humor, stating “we don’t let anyone drown, we just give you a longer snorkel.” This is an innovative, dynamic, growing organization. Some of it is like déjà vu for me and I will get to use my experiences to help shape the best part of the business – I’m in the people business.

office

Additionally this week I survived seeing my husband five days in a row. I say that jokingly. We are calling this the ‘transition period’ before moving in to the same house full time. Not only will I see him three days a week while commuting for my new job  (yes that is unusual) but we will also have to work together a little. We start laying stone at the new house next week.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for some divine intervention and the village that takes care of things at home for me. The countdown is on…only two months left until the move. Tonight, a toast…to all the movers and shakers making big transitions in life!