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Mistr takes it on the road


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Mistr takes it on the road

 

I will be a wandering monk for three weeks of this challenge.

 

Here is a good idea of the route we will be taking on the way west.

 

 

Most of the way will be on interstates, not on the old state highways. We took route 66 from Oklahoma to Kansas City on the way home from Thanksgiving one year. It was more interesting than I-49 which runs parallel, 20 miles to the east. I usually prefer state highways when time is not a major concern. A little slower, a lot fewer semis and much more to see.

 

My challenge will be in two phases with distinct goals.

 

A. Get it all together

  • Confirm visit dates with relatives
  • Find interesting places to stop along the way
  • Figure out what to take with:
  • Car emergency kit for the desert
  • Car emergency kit for the mountains
  • Gifts for relatives and friends
  • Organize and pack all that
  • Finish winterizing the house:
  • cover the air conditioner
  • Turn off hose faucets
  • Shrink-wrap the windows
  • Make arrangements for bills to be paid (Dumbledore does most of this)
  • Find knitting patterns for my travel projects
  • Wind yarn into balls for travel projects
  • Assemble knitting needles and tools
  • Download books onto tablet
  • Download music onto phone
  • Sew or buy more face masks
  • Order sleep masks, ear covers, inflatable cushion for zen and car seat cushions
  • Get a good VPN plan for tablet & phone

 

B. Wandering Monk life

  • Exercise every day - either bodyweight or yoga. Walks are great, but don't count.
  • Zen every day. I may need to cut back the time some days, but I can always sit at least 10 minutes.
  • Eat fruit, vegetables and protein. Try to keep eating to meal breaks and not snack in the car. Buy healthy food at grocery stores instead of junk food at gas stations.
  • Track expenses in phone app every day.
  • Text Elf and send photos
  • See new things!
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Zero week news

 

Work has been insane this week. Three of my team who have toddlers have had positive COVID cases at daycare. So far none of their kids have caught it, but the daycare classrooms have closed. Normally we would have sick kids with colds and flu, this just adds extra tension. I knew my job would get busier, and indeed it did. Maybe next week will be better. I'm not holding my breath.

 

On a happier note, Elf got a new job!

They got hired for a full time assembly position at a local biotech company. They also are working a few shifts a week at the restaurant they worked at last year. They are hoping that by working both jobs for several months they can get out of debt and start saving to go back to school.

 

I am thrilled for them. This means I will need to do more cooking again. Elf has done all the cooking for the last several weeks. They got their meds changed and have much more energy. Good timing, since they will be forced into a day schedule. It also means that I will have to stick to my early bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off. We will need to coordinate so that I exercise while they use the bathroom to get ready for work. I will have enough time to shower after they leave, since my commute is a 30 second walk into the family room and theirs is a half hour drive. We have one more week to figure it out before they start.

 

Yesterday Dumbledore and I did our civic duty and voted. Our city has early voting outside the libraries. We decided to take advantage of the relatively nice weather to stand in line for an hour. This means that we can ignore all the ads and get-out-the-vote pleas for the next two weeks. Whew.

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1 hour ago, Mistr said:

On a happier note, Elf got a new job!

They got hired for a full time assembly position at a local biotech company. They also are working a few shifts a week at the restaurant they worked at last year. They are hoping that by working both jobs for several months they can get out of debt and start saving to go back to school.

 

This is fantastic news! It's a special great feeling to be able to start working towards a dream. The two of you will figure out the schedule. I have confidence in you. :) 

 

Thank you for voting.

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1 hour ago, Mistr said:

On a happier note, Elf got a new job!

How wonderful! Congrats to Elf!

 

1 hour ago, Mistr said:

Yesterday Dumbledore and I did our civic duty and voted. Our city has early voting outside the libraries. We decided to take advantage of the relatively nice weather to stand in line for an hour. This means that we can ignore all the ads and get-out-the-vote pleas for the next two weeks. Whew.

Good job, D an I requested mail in ballots, after filling them out I dropped them off at the supervisor of elections drop box...so nice to not have to stress how we're going to get it done now.

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10 hours ago, Mistr said:

On a happier note, Elf got a new job!

They got hired for a full time assembly position at a local biotech company. They also are working a few shifts a week at the restaurant they worked at last year. They are hoping that by working both jobs for several months they can get out of debt and start saving to go back to school.

 

That's wonderful news! I'm happy for them :)

 

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On 10/23/2020 at 9:50 AM, Xena said:

Do they have thoughts yet on what they might want to go back to school for?

 

There are a few things they are considering. I think it will help them to get into the workforce with adults who have different backgrounds. Working in restaurants has exposed them to a lot of college students and an unfortunate number of people with substance abuse issues who have stayed in the restaurant industry because it is more tolerant of their needs. They can learn about a whole different range of career options.

 

I made some progress this weekend.

  • Confirm visit dates with relatives -  DONE
  • Finish winterizing the house:
  • cover the air conditioner - DONE
  • Turn off hose faucets - DONE
  • Shrink-wrap the windows - bought more plastic, one window complete. Seven more to go.

I also did a bunch of shopping on Saturday and cooking on Sunday. I made scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese; casserole with hamburger, peppers, cabbage and cornbread; and chocolate pudding.

 

Elf is cooking beef roast, popovers and roast potatoes for dinner. I tasked them with finding a beef roast recipe because I rarely make it. I am so proud that my kid is becoming a responsible adult. 🥰

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Yesterday I found out that a coworker is leaving. This was not a surprise, I knew she was looking at other positions. In the big picture it was about the time I expected. We have been fully staffed with a new person trained for three months. Our record for being fully staffed is six months. C'est la vie.

 

I'm fine now that the news has sunk in. It is always a shock when the team changes. And it makes immediate work for me to rebalance the work schedule for everyone. It turns out that the reorganization of a couple weeks ago makes that much easier. Myself and the two new supervisors are all floating, so I can just fill in our hours as needed. Even so, I ate an unreasonable amount of treats yesterday.

 

Family things are going better too

Spoiler

After some initial rocky bits - 

 

Elf is getting up earlier in preparation for starting their new job next week. I'm proud of them for doing that. However, it means that Elf and Dumbledore both want to use the bathroom and the kitchen in the morning. Yesterday their schedules collided and Dumbledore got grumpy about it.

 

At lunchtime Dumbledore and I went for a walk. He explained how he felt and why the conversation earlier had not worked for him, even though both Elf and I were trying to be accomodating. Most of our walk he was telling me how frustrated he is about not being able to communicate with Elf. He thinks Elf listens to me and not him, on and on. I did my best to use my active listening skills and be supportive without trying to speak for Elf or solve the problem.

 

After we got home, Dumbledore went down to his office and I made myself some lunch. Elf emerged from their room and told me that they had written a list of things they needed to talk to Dumbledore about. I was impressed, because earlier Elf said they couldn't talk with Dumbledore because Dumbledore got so defensive. I was busy with work all afternoon, but I vaguely heard conversation in the living room. When I had a break, Dumbledore and Elf came into the family room and happily told me they had worked things out.

 

I'm putting my part here to help me remember. I need to let them talk to each other and not try to help either one. Their communication style with each other is much different than mine, and I have to just sit back. That will also prevent Dumbledore from feeling like we are ganging up on him. If they want to have a family discussion, they will make that clear.

 

Later yesterday afternoon I heard Dumbledore actually call a therapist and leave a message about making an appointment. He has been promising to do that for months.

 

I am so proud of both of them. 🤗

 

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1 hour ago, Mistr said:

Family things are going better too

 

 

Oh wow. That was so much progress and good news, and that's before we go into all the good stuff and leveling up that you did. Putting my thoughts in a spoiler as well. :)

 

Spoiler

"I'm putting my part here to help me remember. I need to let them talk to each other and not try to help either one. Their communication style with each other is much different than mine, and I have to just sit back. That will also prevent Dumbledore from feeling like we are ganging up on him. If they want to have a family discussion, they will make that clear."

 

In addition to the drawbacks you're already listing here, any "help" from you will also prevent the two of them from developing their parent-child relationship in the direction it needs to go, both with regards to the two of them growing closer, and with the aspect of that relationship that needs to change as the child grows into an adult. That you are realizing the importance of letting them build their personal relationship without outside interference and are taking action to allow them both to grow, means you should be proud of yourself as well ;) 

 

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So much good stuff!!! Family building is tough. With two already, and more... My mom and grandma were telling me about my great-great grandma and what a unifying and organising force she was. With her brothers and husband. Ever since she passed away our family tree has been growing apart. So sad. One branch can be more easily broken than a bundle, as a king of long ago of my birth country has said (and probably like many who observe the strength of the sum that is greater than its parts).

 

Way. To. Go! So many insights, too. Thanks for sharing.

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The continuous staffing changes are understandably rough on you. Does your company have any thoughts on trying to do something to improve retention? I could imagine some types of jobs designed for high turnover (e.g., entry level lab tech jobs that recent college graduates might do for a year or two before moving on to grad school), but I'm thinking that working to improve retention could be financially lucrative for them (make everyone more productive etc).

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2 hours ago, Aθena said:

So much good stuff!!! Family building is tough. With two already, and more... My mom and grandma were telling me about my great-great grandma and what a unifying and organising force she was. With her brothers and husband. Ever since she passed away our family tree has been growing apart. So sad. One branch can be more easily broken than a bundle, as a king of long ago of my birth country has said (and probably like many who observe the strength of the sum that is greater than its parts).

 

Yes, my grandmother did the same for our family. And I ask my mom how my aunt and cousins are doing rather than keeping in contact myself. I know I should make more effort, but have not been willing to do that yet.

 

2 minutes ago, Xena said:

The continuous staffing changes are understandably rough on you. Does your company have any thoughts on trying to do something to improve retention? I could imagine some types of jobs designed for high turnover (e.g., entry level lab tech jobs that recent college graduates might do for a year or two before moving on to grad school), but I'm thinking that working to improve retention could be financially lucrative for them (make everyone more productive etc).

 

Our department has historically been an entry into the company. We hire post-docs and newly minted PhDs and teach them how our corner of the biotech industry works and how to support the full range of our products. That sets them up to move into other areas of the company.

 

Senior management finally realized that we are no longer the only game in town and is raising pay. Overall retention in the company is very good. We have quite a few long-tenure people in our department as well. There just is a dearth of promotion and management opportunities in a company with a fairly flat corporate structure. I don't see that changing.

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3 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Senior management finally realized that we are no longer the only game in town and is raising pay. Overall retention in the company is very good. We have quite a few long-tenure people in our department as well. There just is a dearth of promotion and management opportunities in a company with a fairly flat corporate structure. I don't see that changing.

 

We have a pretty flat structure as well, but thankfully can counter that by virtue of being in an industry that changes so often and so much, that there's plenty of opportunities for growth and development without moving upwards in the organisational structure. If you have a similar situation (the word "tech" implies you might) you can probably use that to retain and develop some of your people, and given the fact overall company retention is good, that might be what is happening?

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On 10/26/2020 at 6:43 PM, Mistr said:

There are a few things they are considering. I think it will help them to get into the workforce with adults who have different backgrounds. Working in restaurants has exposed them to a lot of college students and an unfortunate number of people with substance abuse issues who have stayed in the restaurant industry because it is more tolerant of their needs. They can learn about a whole different range of career options.

 

As someone who worked food services for a long time, I can tell you that there's probably no better career field for learning people skills like empathy and identifying wants and needs than restaurant work. Some people say it's sales, and those people are wrong.

 

That being said, there's definitely something to the idea of getting more life experience and getting out of that atmosphere. Food services are essential, but we don't value them proper, and Elf's gotta do what Elf's gotta do. I hope they get more and better out of this next job. :)

 

Also, hey, exciting to hear about the road trip! Gonna repeat what I said last time about the romance of the road, onward going without a destination. Good stuff. How are the preparations coming along?

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9 hours ago, Mistr said:

Yes, my grandmother did the same for our family. And I ask my mom how my aunt and cousins are doing rather than keeping in contact myself. I know I should make more effort, but have not been willing to do that yet.

 

Hmm, it's not even about knowing how people are doing at all times. The other branches  do not have the mentality of "help when possible, do stuff that is good for everyone". I hear there is also an amount of "habit" of jealousy that drives them.  I have a high amount of trust in the fact that my grandparents and mom have reached out but have been met with a scarcity mentality. Suspicion, favorism and so on. Parents feeding their insecurities into their kids etc.

 

Being connected requires a great amount of confidence in yourself, that you dare to be vulnerable to others and also that you do not need to constantly take in order to not "fall behind" or whatever. That fees up space for trust in others that they have no ulterior motives, that they truly believe that helping each other out consistently will never leave anyone for wanting and all of this little to do with staying in touch consistently. We have had people that later became our friends but were basically strangers offer a listening ear and feedback/advice more readily or give us a hand more easily than our family members haha. If there was someone in need, like the 1 time-great grand mothers getting old though, my grandparents were taking care of them of course. And covering all expenses that the shitty social system did not. Not their siblings or anyone else who said sick great grandparents had helped out.

 

No grudges though. I could go on and on but it is what it is. :) I am only in control of my own behaviour. 

 

EDIT: Whew, I have been really been thinking a lot about "family" lately and I apparently need to vent bits here and there. Thanks for reading :D 

 

TL;DR - I miss contact with people who have no reason to contact me so I am being sad about not having the blood tie thing work out in that regard :D Would have been fun to have larger Skype dinner during Christmas or so 

 

And also that I get uplifted when reading about your successes amd Elf maturing :) I have been thinking about it a lot when having successes in (re) cultivating my own "home economics" habits these weeks.

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9 hours ago, Kishi said:

As someone who worked food services for a long time, I can tell you that there's probably no better career field for learning people skills like empathy and identifying wants and needs than restaurant work. Some people say it's sales, and those people are wrong.

 

I would argue that post-sales support, especially of something complex like specialized software or technical gadgets/computer stuff is just as good a field for that, but that's the field I've made a career in, so I am obviously quite biased.

 

I agree with you on sales though. Sales reps are sociopaths. 😛 

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I am so glad that Elf found both a job AND a pot roast recipe!! Those things are equivalent achievements.  I cannot be swayed.  

 

21 hours ago, Mistr said:

Yesterday I found out that a coworker is leaving. This was not a surprise, I knew she was looking at other positions. In the big picture it was about the time I expected. We have been fully staffed with a new person trained for three months. Our record for being fully staffed is six months. C'est la vie.

 

I'm fine now that the news has sunk in. It is always a shock when the team changes. And it makes immediate work for me to rebalance the work schedule for everyone. It turns out that the reorganization of a couple weeks ago makes that much easier. Myself and the two new supervisors are all floating, so I can just fill in our hours as needed. Even so, I ate an unreasonable amount of treats yesterday.

I guess these things happen.  It sounds like you have enough staffing to manage the changes in personnel and keep everyone from having to work unreasonable amounts of overtime.   Treats are important, especially if the coworker was a big part of the team and/or was someone very important to the group dynamic and structure.

 

16 hours ago, Mistr said:

Our department has historically been an entry into the company. We hire post-docs and newly minted PhDs and teach them how our corner of the biotech industry works and how to support the full range of our products. That sets them up to move into other areas of the company.

 

Senior management finally realized that we are no longer the only game in town and is raising pay. Overall retention in the company is very good. We have quite a few long-tenure people in our department as well. There just is a dearth of promotion and management opportunities in a company with a fairly flat corporate structure. I don't see that changing.

oh I see now.  The training programs mean high turnover.  We have that too; my patients keep asking me how much longer they have a doc before they have to get used to someone new.  It is hard on everybody.

Pay raise is good, yes?  Even though it seems like it is difficult to have upward mobility?

 

Re: le family things

Spoiler

I am really glad that Elf and Dumbledore were able to find a way to communicate their needs to one another, and I am excited for you that you were able to remain neutral.  It sounds like they are learning their own type of listening and conflict/resolution skills to work through their requests of each other.  That's really nice, and it's especially nice to hear that Elf is maturing and blooming.  That sounds like it ultimately was a rewarding situation.  Kudos again for staying neutral with two people you clearly care about and would like to get along.

 

Also, mighty heck glad that Dumbledore called to make an appointment with a therapist.  Therapy with a good therapist is such a good thing.  They are also good for teaching people how to label emotions, and if you can label your own emotions, you can also help identify feelings in others as well.  Labeled empathy is such a good for talking to others.  It may help him in talking to Elf, who is likely a young adult, and we under 50 recognize our common sense Sometimes Don't Work That Good.

 

Yay on the winterizing!  ALSO THE PUDDING.  

 

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35 minutes ago, Treva said:

I am so glad that Elf found both a job AND a pot roast recipe!! Those things are equivalent achievements.  I cannot be swayed.  

 

I disagree. The true achievement is in preparing the pot roast to perfection. ;) 

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Actually, Elf made roast beef. I already have a reliable pot roast recipe. And the next day Elf made grilled eggplant with tomatoes and cheese, grilled brats, and squash stuffed with a tasty mixture of Italian sausage, quinoa, spinach and cheese. I am getting spoiled.

 

18 hours ago, Kishi said:

Also, hey, exciting to hear about the road trip! Gonna repeat what I said last time about the romance of the road, onward going without a destination. Good stuff. How are the preparations coming along?

 

We got our tax refund and stimulus checks, so we are making plans. Yesterday Dumbledore made hotel reservations for the first half of the trip. The second half is much more tentative because we will have to change routes if there is snow in the Rockies. The whole thing could change if there is another ice storm across the plains like there was this week.

 

Even so, I am excited to be going. I have two knitting projects queued up to take along. I finally finished my socks (photos later) and am looking forward to making other things. I am going to bring a drop spindle and see if there are any open fiber shops along the way. That would make up for missing all the wool festivals this year, at least a little. I verified that I have several books to read on my tablet. Next step is to download more podcasts and music for the road. Tonight I want to do more shopping and order sleep masks, an inflatable meditation cushion, and more yoga pants.

 

Work is still insanely busy. Having a vacation to look forward to is a Good Thing™.

 

17 hours ago, Aθena said:

EDIT: Whew, I have been really been thinking a lot about "family" lately and I apparently need to vent bits here and there. Thanks for reading :D 

 

Certainly, any time.

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On 10/29/2020 at 10:41 AM, Scaly Freak said:

 

I would argue that post-sales support, especially of something complex like specialized software or technical gadgets/computer stuff is just as good a field for that, but that's the field I've made a career in, so I am obviously quite biased.

 

I agree with you on sales though. Sales reps are sociopaths. 😛 

 

Oh hell yeah, for sure. I guess I can speak to the restaurant work because it's a low bar of entry, so someone like me could clear it and get in. :D

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