S&W IS department (ahem), what’s in my new job

Elise just left. Luckily I’ll see her tomorrow. See, weather permitting, I’m going to try to go to Austin every weekend. The weather was really nice today – hopefully it will be the same tomorrow so the motorcycle ride will be pleasant.

The IS department came and setup my computer so I can now log on and do my job. Unfortunately, for me, the S&W uses a Novell network that I am not familiar with at all. I guess that will give me something to learn in my spare time. The also use GroupWise as their email client. I’m used to Outlook Express… More stuff to get used to. No biggy – I guess that ‘old dog, new tricks’ thing applies.

Work was okay today. I always thought that I was kind of web/new media savvy – boy was I wrong. We had a meeting today with the IS department… I felt like everyone was speaking Chinese.

Elise ran some errands this morning, then she came and met me for lunch in the hospital cafeteria. I had the fajitas – that was a mistake. They were terrible.

After work, I came home and El and I went to Academy to get me a rain suit. I can’t really show up to work all drenched like I could at Vidbook. See, I have to kind of dress up for this job. Luckily I don’t have to wear a tie – but I might as well.

I’m still confused and uncertain as to what I’ll be doing as Communications Coordinator. My cohort, David and I discussed this today. He shed some light on it for me, but I really won’t know until I’m actually doing the work. Right now I go to a lot of meetings. There we discuss the design of the new S&W website. I’m not actually going to be doing any designing or development – that’s what the IS and Illustration teams do. But my experience has helped in coming up with some good ideas. I mentioned a cool Javascript for the home page – everyone liked it and I think I’m supposed to propose this to the IS dept. I kind of wish I could get my hands in the dirty work. Maybe one day I will. I think it would be a plus if I could chum up the IS guys.

Well, that’s news for now. I can’t wait to head back to Austin.

I’m in Temple now – orientation

Greetings from Temple! I have a lot of news!

I’ll start by letting you all know that I really wanted to get up here and be able to add to my ‘journal’, but, yours truly forgot to call good ol’ Southwestern Bell to have a land line setup. Duh! I’m so used to having Road Runner and not worrying about a phone line, dial up internet connections.

So, having said that – I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to get online until Sunday when El and I were moving me up here.

Saturday, El had to work. She was relieved of her duties early due to the blinding cold weather. We loaded up some of my crucial effects and arrived in Temple just in time to sign our lease and get our keys. My temporary bachelor pad is modest. It’s an apartment, what can I say? I can say this: We don’t have quite as much storage space as our place in Austin. I think this is a good thing because when El moves up here, we’ll be forced to get rid of a lot of our stuff. Also, (and I’ve mentioned this before) rent is so much cheaper. I think we have pretty much the same amount of square footage here, and we pay $301 less!

We got $300 off this first months rent because El found coupon for this complex online. Next month, we get another $50 off because of a referral from this complex’s sister complex. I might get an additional $200 off next months rent as well because I referred another Scott & White employee (if she signs a lease here). But, that $200 off for the referral will cost me a pint of blood. See what happens when you work at a hospital! I’ll touch on that later.

Sunday was the big day. I had to load up everything I needed and kiss Riley goodbye (for now). It was kind of sad leaving. I was pretty nervous about the move and the new job, so I didn’t get all watery in the glazzies.

You want to talk about cold?!?!? I had to ride the trusty Shadow 70 miles in 38 degree weather against a northern wind. I have never been so cold in my life.

We got to Temple and moved in the futon and my clothes. El went to the laundry room and washed some towels and a comforter for me. We went to Subway for dinner and to the Super WalMart for my groceries.

Elise left around 11pm. I could have sworn I was being shipped off to war. It was as if we were never going to see each other again – we didn’t want to let each other go. She finally drove off. I came upstairs – then I got choked up. I told her to call me when she got home so I would know that she made the trip safely. Luckily, a local TV channel was showing the first episode of the X-Files, so that occupied my mind until El called.

Monday morning came early. I had a nightmare that was luckily halted by the alarm. My dream was that a doctor found a tumor on my right lung…

Anyway – Monday was orientation. I went outside at 7:30am to warm up the Shadow. It was 26 degrees out. I had to scrape frost off the seat. I arrived at orientation on time. A group of approximately 30 of us had to sit through 7 hours of formalities and the like – typical orientation.

There was a lady named Mindi who kept talking about the Scott & White blood bank. She was a new/returning employee, also going through orientation. Mindi is a marketing coordinator for the S&W blood bank. That’s where my $200 off next months rent comes in. I came home from orientation and had to go to the apartment leasing office to turn in our walk-through. Mindi was in the office inquiring about apartments. She recognized me and said “Hello”. The office manager said I would get $200 off next months rent if Mindi signs a lease. Mindi got excited for me and told me that if I received the referral discount, that I would have to go in and give blood. I told her I would (and I will).

I don’t know if I’m at liberty to discuss this, but last month, a person contracted HIV from a blood transfusion at Scott & White. Scott & White has their own blood bank. This incident was a rare case where the blood supply was low and blood had to be brought in from an outside source (San Antonio). So, for the record, the blood containing HIV wasn’t from Scott & White. Look at me, I haven’t been there but a day and I’m already sticking up for them!

Today was first day of actual work. I reported to my ‘office’ (glorified cube) at 8am. I got the tour of the hospital and the cafeteria. It’s a hospital – don’t really know what to tell you. If you’ve been in a hospital, then you know what I’m talking about.

My computer needs to be setup by the IS department (establish password, map network drives, etc.). So, I don’t have access to my computer as of yet. sentence deleted. Today I basically sat there and read S&W materials. I had 2 meetings to attend too. They were okay, but I obviously didn’t have anything to contribute. That will come with time. But, all in all, I think I’ll enjoy myself there.

Other than that, I’m really lonely. I have two lawn chairs acting as living room furniture and a small television to keep me occupied. I miss my wife like you wouldn’t believe.

I’m moving to Temple, I hate AOL, I hate Hartz

Elise and I just got back from Temple. We moved some small stuff into our new apartment that will hold me off for a little while. We brought some cooking supplies, a TV, radio, alarm clock, my bathroom stuff, etc. Tomorrow we’re going to move up the futon, my clothes and my computer.

Speaking of computers… Looks like I’m going to have to hunt down one of those “1000 free minutes” AOL CDs so I can be online. I hate AOL. No sense in paying for Roadrunner at two places. And it’s going to be hell having to go back to a dial-up connection. Tomorrow, while El is cleaning (this was her idea, I promise) I’m going to set up the computer. This means I’ll have to reinstall my old 56k modem – fun! Good news though – Roadrunner is cheaper in Temple!

We were trying to figure out which room was going to be the bedroom and which was to be the office. Upon making that decision, we then attempted to visualize where all of our stuff was going to go. I can tell you this much, our home office is going to be lacking in the way of feng shui!

We came back into Austin to find a not-so-welcome letter from Hartz in our mailbox. Seems they don’t believe that their product nearly killed our little Riley. DO NOT USE HARTZ MOUNTAIN CORPORATION PRODUCTS!!!

If you haven’t heard the story of how we almost lost Riley last year, click here. You must have Real Player installed to watch the video.

Well, gotta go start packing up my clothes!

What’s a blog, TXU, apartment ratings

For those of you who’ve noticed, I’ve began to chronicle my and El’s lives here at Janicek.com. I’m not going to make any promises, but I’m beginning to like using this website as somewhat of a journal. There may be times when I write, other times I may not. We’ll see!

I’ve added a link to my archive at the bottom of this page. I’ve put all of February’s entries in this archive.

And remember, the Janicek.com forum is no longer password protected, so feel free to use it to satisfy any textual whims!

In the news… nothing really new today. I had to scoot around on the trusty Shadow in the cold drizzle that this day brought to mail off an item that I sold on eBay.

I had to call TXU (Temple’s utility company) to make sure I have electricity and hot water upon my arrival. I was told that I am going to have to pay a $150 deposit unless I can provide a credit reference letter from the City of Austin Utilities proving that I have been a customer in good standing for the past 12 months.

Well, I’ve been a good utilities customer, always, but you’d think the brains at a utility company could take it upon themselves to run a credit check among their cohorts just like any other business would. Get a copy of your credit report and you’ll see what I mean. It’s pretty easy for anyone to find out about your credit.

So, I had to sit on hold for over 20 minutes with the City of Austin Utilities to request this stupid letter that’s going to save yours truly 150 smackers.

And get this… In November of 2000, El and I moved in together in a 2 bedroom apartment. Prior to that, she lived right below me – both of us lived in 1 bedroom apartments. Not but 2 weeks before we moved out of those singles and into our current, roach-ridden ghetto dorm, the apartment complex put ice makers into our refrigerators. Just before we could get any use out of them.

You’ll never guess what the nice people of Bristol Square did for us today… hmmm… give up? They put an ice maker in our refrigerator. How sweet of them. Kind of funny, just yesterday I put in our notice to fulfill lease and vacate. If you want to know how El and I have recently felt about our current apartment, click here.

Well, tomorrow it’s back to Temple. We’re going to load up my personal effects and try to get me somewhat settled in.

Temple: credit union, apartment, Mazzio’s, new work clothes

El and I took I-35 North to Temple early today. We visited one last apartment complex that Elise wanted to check out. Luckily we did because it’s the one we decided on. We wound up saving quite a bit more money as far as deposit, ‘preferred employer discounts’ and ‘move in specials’. The short of it: It’s soooo much cheaper to live in Temple vs. Austin. Yeah, yeah – you might snicker and say: “What is there in Temple?” Well, my friend Marshall and I were having an existential conversation a while back, and the gist of it was: If you don’t take full advantage of what Austin has to offer, then it’s not worth the price you pay to live here. Having said that, El and I can always drive 70 miles to see the bats fly out from underneath the Congress bridge in the spring. We can come in for a nice dinner or a night out on 6th. We can drive down on a lazy Sunday for a stroll through the botanical or sculpture gardens and hang out by that spring fed pool. Of the eight years that I’ve lived here – I’ve only done that stuff once.

As I was… We went to Temple, put a deposit down on an apartment. We opened an account with a local credit union and went to the Central Texas Workforce Commission to hunt down a job for El that she had found earlier last week online (no luck on that – job must have been filled).

We had dinner at Mazzio’s Pizza and decided to leave Temple and head home. We should have waited a wee bit – we hit Austin rush hour. I’m not going to miss that!

Halfway home, El says: “Do you want to go see if we can find you some ‘work clothes'”. I said: “Okay.” We went to the Salvation Army on South Lamar. We bought 4 really nice pairs of slacks that looked as if they had never been worn and one dress shirt that needs only ironing. I would have spent around $300 had we gone to JC Penney’s ($600 had we gone to Foley’s, Dillard’s etc.) Everything fit perfectly except one pair of brand new, navy slacks that need to be hemmed approximately 1″. Our damage: $48. So we’re both really happy about our finds for the day!

We came home and I was doing my nightly kitchen work when El brought out the old pen and pad and said: “Let’s write out a list of stuff you’ll need.” She was so cute. She started putting together a care package for me! I don’t know what I’m going to do without her for 2 months!

I’m kind of getting scared. Like I’ve said, I’m getting nervous about the job and moving to a smaller town where we won’t know anyone – but I’ll be fine. I guess I’m scared of growing up and moving on. I came to Austin to go to college. I got lucky and landed a job with Vidbook upon graduating, but now our lives are taking us to new places – granted, not geographically far, but new, nonetheless.

Anyway, for those of you who busted my chops about how I didn’t like ‘Black Hawk Down’… ‘We Were Soldiers’ comes out tomorrow. Go see that if you want a decent made-for-the-big-screen war documentary (no, I didn’t read the books either – I’m talking about the movies and I’m not going to read the books). At least ‘We Were Soldiers’ sheds light on the other side and the friends and loved ones of those who were involved. If you don’t like it, I don’t care – I’m entitled to my own opinion.

Rudy’s with Chic, El’s gettin’ skinny on me

Today I had lunch at Rudy’s BBQ with my former Editor-in-Chief from Vidbook. I’m starting to take notice the things that I’m going to miss in Austin – like really good BBQ!!

Tomorrow, El and I are heading back up to Temple to make a decision on an apartment and to open an account at a credit union.

Nothing else really going on. I’m still pretty nervous and excited about the new job. Oh yeah, I don’t know if El wants me disclosing this information, but she’s lost almost 10 pounds in the past couple months by dieting and exercising. I’m so proud of her!

Apartment shopping in Temple

El and I drove up to Temple this morning. We put forth our best effort, and came up short in finding a room for rent for your humble narrator. Apartments and motels alike had an average of $1300/month for rooms to rent for short periods (their ‘corporate rates’). We begged people, but no luck.

So, we’ve decided that we’re going to go ahead and just sign a new lease for an apartment in Temple. It’s going to be rough for two months. But, just to give you an idea, a comparable apartment to the one in which we live now, in Temple, is $300 less than what we pay in Austin.

In doing this, I think it will be easier for us in the long run. We’ll already have “our place” in Temple when Elise moves up there with me in May. We won’t have to move stuff twice (moving into a room for rent, then moving into our apartment). And I can bring up my computer, more clothes, a TV, stereo, etc. etc.

Scott & White pretty much owns Temple. Everywhere you turn, there’s either a hospital, clinic or annex building. The good thing about this is that S&W is a ‘preferred employer’ meaning we get discounts on rent, among other things, to be determined later. Another plus, is if you’re ever hurt, injured, sick, whatever, it’s a stones throw from a Scott & White facility.

El and I had lunch at the Dairy Queen. Reminded me of Brenham. For those of you whom I didn’t know in high school, Brenham is a small town neighboring Bellville – where I went to high school. There were three old men, sitting and having coffee (an obvious daily ritual because they showed up at the same time, by different means) and talking about local sports and news.

Elise was on the phone with an apartment complex trying to get directions. The two older ladies sitting near us obviously overheard her conversation because when Elise hung up, one of the ladies spoke up and gave us better directions. Everyone seems to be really friendly and outgoing.

We stopped outside the Temple Daily Telegram to pick up a newspaper and check the classifieds.

We swung by the ol’ Temple Chamber of Commerce. Geez, I was astonished by all of the friendly “Welcome to Temple, so glad you’re here, you’re going to love it here!!!” Having said that, the lady we spoke with in the C of C handed me a 20 pound bag of ‘Temple goodies’: a phone book, map, coupons, visitors guide… all the goods.

Well, we won’t have all of the big city bright lights anymore, but if we ever get bored, I’m sure we can hit the local taco stand and get in on some good conversation.

I’m getting pretty nervous about starting my new job. I’m getting double nervous about the financial strain we’re about to endure. I know El is nervous about moving to a ‘small town’ and trying to find a job. But, we have each other – in good times and in bad, for richer, for poorer. I don’t care where we have to move, as long as I have my El, I’m the richest man in the world.

S&W physical

I went to Temple today to have my physical. I had to take El to work so I could have her truck to make the trek. I have a complex … urinating under pressure. So, I made sure to drink something close to a gallon of water on my trip there (minus radio and popping plastic shopping bag serving as rear passenger window). I arrived at building 19 to do my drug test. Well, step one wasn’t the urinalysis. I had to endure close to an hour of waiting and finally a medical history check. I was then sent to the Scott & White clinic for my physical.

I arrived in the lobby and handed in my paperwork where I was told to sit and wait and someone would call me in. I sat down, with a grunt (see drinking a gallon of water above). As I sat and tried to relax, I engaged in a deep sigh. Upon doing this, a small amount of saliva made its way into the wrong tube. This stimulated an immediate regurgatory reflex that sent my bladder into emergency response. Oh my gawd – I thought I was going to explode.

I sat there for a good 10 minutes and my name was finally called. Saving your from gory details, all went well.

I had my photo taken for my super cool Scott & White badge.

I left work (heh, feels good to say that) and took the nickel tour of Temple. I drove around just to get lost and see the town. I have to say, I think I like Temple. It’s small but has everything one really needs.

Tomorrow, El and I are driving up there to find a place for your narrator so stay during the weekdays until our lease in Austin is up in April. We’re also going to try to find a good credit union to join and possibly look into apartments or houses to rent when we move.

I got the job!!! Cell phones

Well… I got the job at Scott & White. They called yesterday and made me a formal offer! What a relief! I’m a working man again. My start date is March 4th. Thanks to everyone for all of the support.

Elise and I got a pretty good deal on a couple cell phones today. We’re both not really keen on cell phones, but I feel a lot better with her having one – being a female and having a truck that’s getting up there in miles and wear and tear. I think it will be good for me too while I’m alone in Temple for the next couple months.

Anyway, we went to Best Buy just to look at phones and service options. They had a special going today: Buy a Sprint PCS phone and get a free DVD player. They were all out of DVD players, so they were offering $100 off each phone. The phones we chose were Samsung SPH-N200’s at $150 each, minus the $100, minus a $50 mail-in rebate. So we got two nifty cell phones for free.

We’re going to ditch our land line long distance, so we’re pretty much coming out even, plus the added security of having cell phones.

Waiting to hear from S&W, Blackhawk Down

I just called Scott & White again this morning. They’re still discussing the candidates. I asked when I should expect a phone call… they said by Monday.

Scott & White would be a great place to work for. For example, they offer partial tuition reimbursement if one should choose to go back to school and earn another degree. I wish they would offer sleep reimbursement. We went and caught a late movie last night. I drank a big Coke. We came home and the caffeine kept me awake in bed until after 3am. I still woke up at 8 because I keep expecting a phone call from them!

About that movie… We saw Black Hawk Down. Two words for you: Don’t go. Don’t even wait for it to come out on video. If you do, and you rent from Blockbuster, wait until it becomes a “favorite” and the price to rent it goes down.

The movie is based upon true events: the U.S. and U.N.’s involvement in Somalia. Kudos to Ridley Scott’s direction and the rest of the production team’s portrayal of the events.

In short, at least an hour of glorified and unnecessary gun fighting could have been editing out. Our soldiers are portrayed as Gap commercial ‘Yo Boys’ (no, not Hooah men – I know what that means). Saggy fatigues and little respect for authority. By no means am I knocking our military, but I think this movie did.

Dark Holler, Garage band, Weedeater Austin County Fair

Went to see my friend Marshall’s band last night – www.darkholler.net. The band that followed was very heavy, reminded me of one of my favorite heavy metal bands, Motorhead. We stayed for a couple songs, then headed home. I went straight for the closet and dug out the old tapes, trying to find one of my Motorhead cassettes. Couldn’t find it, but I did stumble across one of my old garage band tapes. Yes, yours truly was in a garage band!

We never established a name for our band – I was always keen on Panhead, but we never played anywhere that would necessitate a name except in garages turned into studios with egg crates on the walls or in Ash’s game room.

I think we started the band when I was around 16 or 17 years old. We practiced every Sunday. Core members were Ash Darby (drums), Tom Darby (lead geetar), Chris Whitehead (bass) and myself (rhythm geetar). There were frequent cameos by other ‘local’ musicians including Aaron Sanford, Craig Godden, Eric Arning, Stacy Holba and Derrick Zander.

Unfortunately, I have only one demo tape. Ash had the 4-track, so all of our recordings are either with him, or lost somewhere. I remember one of the first songs we recorded was a cover of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. In order to pay tribute to the gods of heavy metal, we, of course, had to play as loud as Chris’s Crate full stack would allow. Needless to say, Mr. Darby wasn’t too impressed when the sound knocked all of the pictures off of the walls in his game room (seriously!!!)

Anyway – I hooked up the old jambox to my soundcard and ripped a couple mp3s. I wrote “Weedeater” for my girlfriend-at-the-time. Her and I became a couple when she approached me at our senior Homecoming dance. She was into smoking pot and the like. I wasn’t. She wanted out of that lifestyle. To make a long story short, I found out later that she had snuck off a couple times to smoke pot with some of her old friends. I was pissed and wrote the song. It doesn’t have any lyrics – I kind of like to think of it as “instrumental anger”.

The other song, I don’t think it ever had a name. Chris and I just made it up and recorded it one Sunday night after the rest of the band members went home. We performed this song at the Austin County Fair in 1994 and won 3rd prize… don’t ask me why!

Self esteem is plummeting – I need this job!

I’m losing sleep and my self esteem is plummeting. The people at Scott & White told me they would contact me early this week. I was going stir crazy today, so I called the Director of Human Resources. I know, it might have been too early for me to call, but hey, I want this job! Anyway, she told me that they’re still reviewing the candidates. Hopefully I’ll hear something soon to set my mind at ease.

Second inteview with Scott & White, Valentine’s Day, Pharyngitis

I had my second interview with Scott & White on Tuesday. I think it went quite well. We won’t know anything until early this week. I’ll keep you all posted as I receive news.

I’m finally getting over my Pharyngitis. For those of you who didn’t know – I was running a 103 degree fever for 4 days and feeling really crappy. El finally dragged me to the doctor last Friday. I got a script for some antibiotics – feeling much better now. There seems to be a strain going around Central Texas that is affecting men. El’s boss was sick for over a week, some of El’s regular golf customers had been sick, our friend Victor was recently very ill had to be rushed to the emergency room, my friend Reid has been running a fever. Hmmmm…

Valentine’s Day: El and I were given free sneak preview movie tickets to see ‘We Were Soldiers’. The short of it: very sad Vietnam movie starring Mel Gibson. Prior to that, I made dinner for the both of us – 8 oz. Filet Mignon with a mushroom and red wine sauce, baby potatoes and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. It was a pricey meal – but it was Valentine’s day and we would have spent more going out to dinner.