Friday, October 13, 2006

New Beginnings

So I've taken a new job in a new industry in a new city in a new state. I've lived in states beginning with the letter "M", "W", "V", "T", and "I" and one other country beginning with "F" and am circling back on "W" again as I begin the new job in Wisconsin. Should be moving to Utah to pick up "U" so the back end of the alphabet would be fully represented in US states (try and find a state beginning with "X", "Y", or "Z").

Cheeseville. Dairyland USA. Whatever. There are a lot of dairy farms around here. After spending a night or two at a dairy farm in Pennsylvania (very close to where the Amish school shooting happened very recently) I have learned how to recognize them, other than the obvious herd of black and white cows hanging around. California cheese producers had the audacity to put advertising out on the airwaves here touting CA cheese. I'm too new here to be really galled at that but that bit of cheese did go down a little sideways.

But I'm not working in dairy. Nope. Plumbing fixtures. The whole town is named after the family/company. You guess which one that is. As in the Bold Look Of... Great place. Glad to be here. Now my career isn't having its ups and downs anymore (in elevators, where I just spent 10 years) but is instead going right down the drain. I'm working in Shower and Bathing products, not toilets or else...that's a bad place for a career to go. Actually, this is a positive move for me out of what were negative circumstances. I'm glad to be with a company that's a winner and have a chance to keep it that way with my own contribution.

When I worked in Defense Electronics, we discussed what the equipment had to do and how soldiers would carry it or repair it and so on as part of our design discussions. In Elevators, we discussed how the elevators had to work and what the riders would experience and how to install and service them, and then some. Design discussions in showering and bathing involve interesting digressions into the "experience" and how much force a whirlpool jet should impinge on which muscles, etc... But the best one is when I was in the room during a toilet meeting and a very professional discussion about the physiology of "toileting" (never knew that was a verb until now) and the cultural differences in toileting and how aging affects one's toileting abilities. A little euphemistic at times but not at others. You know, you've got to call it what it is sometimes in order to get things done. It's the company's business, after all, so to speak.

Otherwise, eastern Wisconsin is a lot like western Illinois except the water here is Lake Michigan and not the Mississippi river. A lot less mud and you can't see the other side. It looks like Winter will be about a month longer here than there but that's nothing compared to our two years in Finland. We are prepared for Winter. We even picked up a snow blower this summer from our kids' piano teacher who moved to Singapore. You don't need a snow blower in Singapore.

The real pain in this transition is I'm here alone while we find a house. The family is still back in Illlinois and I live in a one-bedroom apartment just like when I took my first job out of college. But that was 27 years ago so I'm a little out of practice. Shoot, we've been married 23 years in a week or two (yes, I know the date). I've forgotten how to live alone. Like you have to remember to buy EVERYthing you need. Nothing miraculously appears under the bathroom sink to clean the toilet with or fills the cupboards so there's something to eat after work. And I'm not even going there...about cooking. Let's just say I'm not going to starve but the variety has gone down dramatically.

They all came up to visit me a couple weekends ago, a visit I anticipated with just a little trepidation. I mean, six people in a one-bedroom apartment? And the two youngest operate at a slightly elevated volume level which is fine (sort of) when you're in your own home or out in the backyard but doesn't work as well in thin-walled apartments.

When the day came, they actually beat me to my apartment by about an hour because I was returning the same night from a business trip. My Lovely has a key so they could get in. I arrived and the bucket brigade between our minivan and the apartment was in full swing. It never fails to amaze me how much stuff we can pack into a minivan. That was a Thursday night and they stayed until Tuesday morning, camped all over the floor. Other than a few discussions about noise in an apartment it was a great time. No complaints about the arrangements and somehow we were fed even though we couldn't fit around the tiny table I brought with me. It was a real campout indoors. Not good for the long haul but that apartement was a great place for a few days. Before and since, it's a lonely little world. The only perk is it comes with cable TV (only way to get Internet connectivity) and I consider that more of a curse than a perk.

So the search for housing goes on. It would be good to get moved before the snow flies. Oops, too late. It snowed already, at least nothing stuck. May have to pack the snowblower to be the first thing off the truck!


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