The End of 2009

So, today is the end on December, of 2009, and of the 2000s.  2009 has brought my graduation from college and my wedding, unfortunately not my employment though.  The 2000s brought my graduation from high school, my near employment at GM, all of my college career, meeting, proposing, and marrying Jenn, Moving twice, the loss of a grandmother and grandfather, the birth of the blog, and much more.

So, I haven’t updated since October 31, so what has happened?  I had an interview in October with Gentex that seemed to go very well, and I was convinced I would be receiving an offer, but didn’t.  My best guess is that I lacked enough supervision experience as it was a supervisor position.  I had another on November 30th in New Baltimore with an injection molding company.  It is not exactly what I am looking for but could certainly lead to it.  No word from them yet.  I also had a phone interview with Sonoco (no, not Sunoco) but again lacked supervision experience as they were looking for supervisors as well.  I have applied to a couple dozen positions that I have not heard back about.

Thanksgiving Jenn and I spent together and made turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing.  The turkey was more a turkey meat loaf, came out similar to the turkey in a TV dinner.  I wouldn’t get it again.

Jenn totaled her car on December 8th, so has been using mine since.  We really don’t need 2 cars anyway.

December 18th we went to Bay City for Christmas, and from there to Alpena, getting back home on the 20th.  I got some money and gift cards, a gallon of Hawaiian Punch, a jar of pickled bologna, a knife, some cashews, and a Dust Buster.  While in Bay City we ate at Niko’s, that moved into the former Rudy J’s location.  They were pretty good, but its weird being in there because it isn’t Rudy J’s (though Rudy J’s is nothing like they were either).

Jenn and I got new phones on the 22nd.  We both got the Samsung Flight, hers red and mine grey.  They are pretty cool, just wish I could get isync to work.

Jenn and I spent Christmas Eve together as she had it off.  Made ham, sweet potatoes, green beans with bacon, and apple crisp.  Turned out very good.

And that pretty much brings us to now.  Jenn is off for the next several days so we are celebrating New Years together.  I think the plan is going out with some of her friends from work.

This is the 25th blog of 2009, so I did not manage to beat last years 45.  25 blogs in a your comes out to about one post every 2 weeks.  Well, I am fairly sure I can beat that in 2010.  I have actually been toying with moving the blog from hosting myself to WordPress.com.  They are free, but I would need to pay for my domain name still and for a domain hosting fee.  Nearlyfreespeech.net has been great, but they are raising some fees.  It is understandable and not by much, but for me it will nearly double my hosting fees.

I am closing in on 20,000 visitors, and should make it sometime next year.  Traffic has been too variable for me to make a very accurate guess but it should be around early March, give or take.  Also, this being post 584, I should hit 600 mid to late 2010.  As far as word count, I was at 168,265 as I started this post and have already added nearly 600 words in this post.  170k is given, but I think 200k is a bit of a stretch for the upcoming year.

I am trying to think if there is anything else I need to add, but am drawing a blank.

Well, I guess that is it then.  If I think of anything else I will post it, be it this year or next.  Have a happy New Year everybody.

Jenn's Additions

So Nick left out some important information in his last post.  We we were in Novi and decided to head to the waterford hotel, it was quite an adventure.  It was only 12 miles, and it was a good deal on a really nice hotel with a jacuzzi suite, so we figure it was definitely worth the 12miles, however it was quite and adventurous trip.  It took 45 minutes to get there and was 5ish on a weekday in detroit.  We were frequently in stop and go traffic with crazy people passing on the shoulder.  There was also no straight route between the two areas so we were frequently turning and going around lakes.  But we made it alive and it was worth it, the room was really nice.  Also  for the last couple of years nick and I have really wanted to try good lobster, which we did at dinner.  It was good but not really worth the price, I would be just as happy with good jumbo shrimp.  ~Jenn

Wedding, Part 3 – Honeymoon

So, I left off at us getting home on Monday the 12th.  We stayed home Tuesday, then Wednesday left for Bay City to drop Jenn’s dress off at Clayton’s to be cleaned and preserved and leave her bouquet with my Mom to preserve it.  From there we drove to Novi to shop Twelve Oaks.  We arrived at the mall but decided to go look for a hotel first.  We found a nice hotel in Waterford, checked in, then went to dinner at Mitchell’s Fish Market in Birmingham.  After dinner, we decided to skip the mall and went back to the hotel for the night.

Thursday, we headed to the Detroit Zoo for the morning, which was rather dead due to being off season, a weekday morning, and rather cold out.  Still, we had fun, and saw some cool reptiles and amphibians.  Next we headed further down Woodward right downtown to Greektown.  You can tell you are heading deep into Detroit when you  stop seeing McDonalds and see only White Castle, Popeye’s, and Church’s.  So, we had lunch at the Greektown Casino buffet, played in the casino for a little while, then went out to the street and stopped at a bakery for some baklava.  From there, we left Detroit via 94 and headed down 23 to Dundee to walk around Cabella’s.  We went through the St. Julian Winery outlet, and walked around Cabella’s, then headed north to Milan for the night.

Friday we woke up and headed up to Howell to shop the outlet.  Picked up some cool stuff, then headed over to Okemos to shop the mall there.  I got two dress shirts and ties at a really good deal, and we stopped at Big John’s for lunch.  From there, we headed home for the weekend.

Tuesday, the 20th, I had an interview at Grand Rapids Spring and Stamping, which Jenn drove down to with me.  Interview was short, and I still haven’t heard back from it, so not seeming very promising.  We then dropped Jenn’s computer off at the Apple Store to have the palm rest repaired (free, even out of warranty, awesome).

Wednesday, we returned to GR to pick up her computer and drool over the new 20 and 27” iMacs. Also stopped at Robinette’s Orchard.  Tasted some wines, got some apples, had some doughnuts and cider, had a good time.

Thursday night, Jenn went back to work, and the honeymoon officially ended.  The week and a half since have been rather uneventful.  Applied to a couple more jobs, asked for info from Western Michigan on grad programs, not too much else.

In all, over 2 weeks, we visited Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Clare, Clinton, Crawford, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Ionia, Iosco, Isabella, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, Montcalm, Montmorency, Oakland, Osceola, Oscoda, Roscommon, Saginaw, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.  Quite a list.

We got a new neighbor upstairs yesterday, apartment had been empty since August.  Kind of strange someone moving in in late October in a college town, but whatever.

So, that would be about it.

nick

Wedding, Part 2

So, where did I leave off…

About 4:30 Saturday we headed over to the Tiki Bar to wait for the ceremony.  Chris, Todd, Scott, and I waited there chatting and directing people initially to where the ceremony would be, but the weather wasn’t really cooperating.  So, we started pointing people into the restaurant to wait inside.  Come 4:50 I sent them all down to their chairs and Todd and Chris got them all seated.  Several other people who were staying at Garland for other reasons realized a wedding was getting underway and started offering shots and drinks, and hanging out on the patio to watch.  About 5:00, planned start time, Louann came by and I asked “We all ready?” to which she applied “Not exactly, have you seen Pastor Toby?”  Hmm, of all the things that can go wrong at a wedding, the top three include crappy weather (check), missing bride or groom (good there), or missing minister (check).  So, we wait for him, until about 5:15 when I go and let everybody know whats going on, and ask them for 5 more minutes.  As I walk back up to the patio, I look behind and see not a single person in a seat.  Oh well, it was cold out.  So, just as we all get back into the restaurant, it starts to rain.  It had been a light sprinkle, but was getting heavier.  Then, we notice, it changed over to snow.  Louann continued to run between her office calling our minister, and me and Jenn giving updates.  She called her own pastor and asked him to come up as a replacement.  Around 5:45, Jenn called me and asked if we want to move it inside, and I agreed.  So, we moved everybody from the restaurant to the Great Room (where the reception was to be held) to take their seats there.

Standing outside the Great Room, a minister comes up to me and starts explaining he is the replacement.  Louann quickly comes over and escorts him away, explaining to me that he is our ministers replacement and that her replacement was also there.  We had already mentioned that should both arrive, we wanted to go with hers, as we weren’t really happy with Toby.  So, I spoke briefly with the DJ and new minister about how Jenn and I wanted things to go, and at about 6:00, an hour behind schedule, we got under way.

We were married in front of the fireplace, which was lit, in the Great Room.  Several people later remarked that it was beautiful, and we should have planned that from the beginning.  Jenn and I then took our leave for pictures and returned at 7:00 to begin dinner.  Following dinner was our dance, Jenn and her Dad’s dance, and the wedding party dance.  Rest of the night all went to plan, with everyone having a wonderful time.  Around 11:30 most people were gone so we sent the DJ home, helped with some of the cleanup, and Jenn and I went to our villa to open cards and relax.

Sunday, we met up with a couple people, packed, and then took Todd and Ashley to breakfast in Lewiston.  We saw some guys from Ferris there also so chatted with them for about an hour, then all went our separate ways.  Jenn and I headed over to Alpena to separate what was ours from her parents from what her sister wanted for her upcoming wedding in June.  We opened our gifts there also, then headed back across to Gaylord, where we stayed for the night.  Monday morning, it was back in the car and we headed home where we stayed for two whole nights before running off again.

So, honeymoon to come tomorrow.  Though, pictures of it are already on Facebook.

Wedding

So, last Wednesday Jenn and I packed up and headed out on the road.  First stop was in Bay City to drop off a few items to make room in the car, as my Mom and Sue said they would bring them up for us.  Then, we headed south to Romulus and checked into our hotel right across from the airport.  It was kind of cool, because the planes heading to DTW flew rather close, and we got to see them closer than anybody normally would.  After checking in and resting for an hour or so, we headed over to Ann Arbor and ate some Joe’s Crab Shack (amazing place, I had never been there but Jenn had with her mom) and then to the Ann Arbor Mall for some bumming.  We also went to Moose Jaw and REI looking for my Julbo Sherpa’s, but I decided they were just a little too out there, even for me.  Whole Foods was next to REI, so we also walked around there.  Quite an interesting store, not like your ordinary super market.  Wish there was one closer to us, their selection would be nice to have.  After that, we drove through DTW to make sure Jenn could find the pickup area and headed back to the hotel.

Thursday morning Jenn picked up Gwen and her baby Gabe and brought them to the hotel to sleep for a bit.  Once we were all up (again for some) we packed up and were back on the road.  We made it up to Bay City and stopped at the mall to get my tux and Johnny’s vest and tie, then stopped at Target to pick up some Theraflu and Mucinex for me (had been coming down with a flu or something for few days, wanted to make sure it was gone by Saturday) then headed north again.  Finally, we made it up to Alpena, and stayed the night at Jenn’s parents.

Friday morning Jenn had errands to do, including her dress and Gwen’s.  I stayed with her Dad and we picked up some items for the centerpieces.  Come the afternoon we al headed for Lewiston to check in at Garland.  Garland had us in a single villa, which was beautiful.  Jenn’s parents had the double villa right behind the Great Room, which was nice for Jenn to change and have somewhere to run back to during the reception.  We got checked in and met up with Todd and Ashley ow were there a little before us, then had our rehearsal out back at the ceremony site.  Our reception dinner was then at Subway, as Lewiston has few options, and Subway is nice and cheap.  After dinner we went in the big hot tub for a while, then as they arrived I met up with my Mom and Sue, then my Dad, Grandma, and Uncles Craig’s family.

By this point in the night, my thumb was killing me.  To make our centerpieces, I had to bend 2 dozen wires, which I bent largely using my hands.  I had created a blister on the outer edge of my thumb and being sick, it was infected and filled with puss.  So, I lanced it myself after 3 days of soreness.  It looked rather like chinese mustard actually.

Finally, we were at Saturday morning, W-Day.  We woke up and headed to the Great Room to decorate for the reception, with Todd, Ashley, my Mom and Sue, and several others helping.  My mom and Sue took the chair covers to the laundromat to try and de-wrinkle them while Todd, Bill (Jenn’s sister’s fiance) and I working on center pieces, and Ashley doing place cards.  We also set out our pumpkin (Todd had brought it up for us, and was the only person to touch it until Jenn and I got it home) and the mini pumpkins, got the chair covers on, and the girls went in turns to go get their hair done.  As people got up to Garland through the day, they would stop in to say hi, including my Uncle Steve and family who got in around 6 AM and got what sleep they could right after arriving.

With everything seeming to be set up, I headed back to our villa to shower, but realized I had some time and invited some Jon and Greg from Ferris to the hot tub first.  I went back to the villa and changed, then to the Hot Tub to soak a bit with the two of them plus Dane and Andy that they had found on their way (also from Ferris).  Then , back to the villa which I couldn’t get into.  I run back up to the main lodge (which is not a short stroll by any means) and they inform me I was checked out, and in a different villa that night, wtf?  So, I straighten that out and head back to change, passing the photographer on the way and letting him know I won’t be ready for pictures at 3, about 10 min away.  Get up there, shower, change, back to Main Lodge to find Todd and hopefully my brother, the best man, who still wasn’t there yet that I knew of.  So, I found them all, go pictures of us taken, find out flowers are there and get our buttoners and deliver corsages to my Mom and Grandma, then meet whoever I find and wait for 5:00.

And that, is enough for now.  The exciting part next time, followed by the honeymoon (well, parts of it) following that.  Yes folks, a 3-part series.

Still No Word

So, I called Bettis today and still no word.  She said the managers haven’t made a decision yet so there is at least still a chance.  I am starting to feel like if something good was going to come, it would have by now.  All I can do is wait and see.

I went to Ferris Monday to see Joe Wist.  He had a few job leads for me, so I put in about 10 applications.  Will see if they lead to anything.

This Saturday will be my bachelor party.  Hopefully I see a good turnout.  Would be nice to meet up with everyone.

Speaking of Bay City, Jenn and I were up there on Sept 5.  Jenn spent the day with her parents and I visited with my Mom and Dad.  Had fun, but just spent the day.

Following that was my Birthday.  Nothing special.  I did get Snow Leopard as a gift though, which was really cool.

I called Bettis on the 9th and they said “very soon”.  As I said above, I called again today as I still haven’t heard anything.  Would be nice to know by the wedding.

I made some hard cider, which came out fairly well.  It has a bit of a funny aftertaste though.  Hopefully the next batch comes out better.

And I guess that is it.  Will post about the party next week, along with any update I get about the job.

nick

No Word Yet

I kind of put this off till the end of the week, hoping I might hear something, but no.  Yesterday was 3 weeks, of the “2-4” that they claimed.  I kind of figured 2-4 weeks would mean 27 days, but hoped it would be earlier.  If I don’t hear by Thursday, unfortunately the weekend is Labor Day, so Friday and Monday are out, and Tuesday is my birthday so I am afraid to call and get bad news, so I am giving them until Wednesday the 9th.

On another topic, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released today.  It’s only $29, but I don’t have it because a) I don’t have the money, b) All my back-ups are packed away anyway and c) From what I have read online, there are several apps that are not working right yet.  Truth though, is that it is all A, while B and C are just rationalizations.

Theory goes that I will be in Bay City possibly the weekend of the 12th.  My only question is that I would be coming again 2 weeks later for River of Time.  We will see as it approaches.

The cider is going well.  Has slowed down dramatically, which scares me a bit, but I think it’s fine.

That’s all for now.  Sorry, I have a boring life.

nick

Another Interview

So, I went to the interview in Pittsburgh.  Had a lot of flight issues and ended up spending about 6 hours at Detroit Metro.  I finally made it to Pittsburgh at about 11:30 and to the hotel at 12:30.  There was a message waiting for me that somebody would be there to pick me up at 6:55.  So, after about 4.5 hours of sleep I got up and dressed and went with the Bettis rep to Bob Evans for breakfast, then on to the lab.

At the security gate was a nice security officer with the Department of Energy holding an M16 (yes, really).  We then went on to the security office to check me in and have my bag searched, then to HR.  They got all my application info then I was office to another security office to be finger printed.

With all the security stuff done, they explained what they could of the position.  A big part of the position is classified, and requires Top Secret security clearance.  It will take 2-4 weeks to make a decision, then 2-6 months to get clearance (“We are they government, we go kind of slow”).  I was also told that they don’t actually do manufacturing on site, it’s contracted out, and the job would be largely engineering support to the contractor.

Through the day, I interviewed with 3 or 4 people, the final two taking me to lunch.  Hearing about all the advanced stuff they do and who they have (2000 engineers, several hundred Ph.D.s), I feel a little under-qualified, but know I could do it.  It sounds really exciting, and am crossing my fingers.  Should know in a couple weeks.

So, after all that, I got home about 9:30 Thursday night.  Friday afternoon, it was back on the road up to Alpena for Jenn’s shower.  We stopped in Atlanta to see the florist and go over a few things, then went out to eat with Jenn’s parents.  Saturday morning Jenn had a dress fitting and we went to the farmer’s market.  The shower was a couple hours later.  My Dad and Grandma made it up, so I went and drove around town with my Dad while the ladies did their thing. After a bit of driving, we went to Jenn’s parent’s house and my Dad met her Dad, then Jenn called and told us to come to the hall and eat the leftovers, so we all headed there.  After about another hour, they headed home and we packed up all the gifts.  We hung out at Jenn’s parents for a few hours, then went looking for a hotel near Lewiston.  Unfortunately, there was a wedding and a softball game in town, so all the rooms in town were booked and the nearest we could find was in Gaylord.  Sunday morning we went to mass and to meet with the priest who will perform our wedding ceremony.  He seems pretty fun, and an OK guy.  After that, we finally headed home.

Monday wasn’t much.  Tuesday we were offered to lease our apartment until Dec 31, which is longer that what we were hoping for, but better than May, so we signed.  I better have a job by then.  Hell, I think I have to at least have part time by my birthday if we want to stay afloat.

That about covers it all.  Will let you know if I hear anything.

nick

Second Try

I want to start out by pointing out to the many of you that are reading this on Facebook that I don’t post these as Notes, but as blog posts at nicholasyax.com.  Thought you might want to check it out some time.

Second up, I have another interview, August 6th.  This job is in Pittsburgh as well, as is it with a nuclear power engineering company.  Hopefully it goes well.  I fly out on the 5th, stay the night in a hotel nearby, then interview most of Thursday, flying home in the evening.

My uncle and family are in Bay City visiting, so will be heading there this weekend, then packing the first couple days of the week, then the interview, then Jenn’s bridal shower next weekend, then more packing until Wednesday the 12th when we move.  Looking like a busy few weeks.

Where we are moving we still don’t know.  We just know our lease ends on the 15th, so we need to be out.  We are looking at some furnished cabins for a couple weeks, until I know how the interview went.  After that, either we are off to Pittsburgh or Jenn signs up for travel nursing and we go do that for a while.

Wedding invitation should be out soon.  We have them all printed and are in the process of assembling them.

That covers al that I wanted to say, I believe.  Will let everyone know how the interview went either the night of the 6th or on the 7th.

Good News = No

So, I finally got my first response to an application, that was the possible “good news”.  This was back on June 12 as we were on our way up to go camping.  It was a call from Westinghouse Nuclear about a new grad engineer position.  I missed the call, and tried for most of the day to return their call to no avail.  Finally, on Monday, I got through and was immediately put through an initial phone screening, and told that there would be at least one more before I made it to an interview, but they would let me know either way.  This, needless to say, got Jenn and I very excited as it was something, which is more than I had gotten so far.

Two weeks pass with no response, so I call back.  I am told that they haven’t made any decisions yet, and they were being bogged down due to people taking vacations and the upcoming July 4 holiday.  OK, understandable.

Another two weeks, still no response, so I call again.  “Sorry, but we decided to go with a more experienced professional for this position.”  Damn.  I had to bite my lip, as I was extremely disappointed at the time and really wanted to go off on “what happened to we will let you know either way?”  But, they do have dozens of positions open, and are hiring hundreds of people per year as they are undergoing major expansion, and I am still in the running for several of those positions.

I would think, that making it to the first phone screening for the position I did would put me in the upper tier for the several similar positions I applied for, but who knows.  It was kind of implied no, so maybe I am just not meant to work for them.  I do have to wonder how a position posted as for new grads becomes a 10+ years required position though.

I also wonder how Magna Cum Laude, #1 in program can’t find a job.  What exactly are companies looking for if I am not good enough?  It’s not like I am applying for 5+ req. positions that I have no shot at.  I have applied for, honestly, hundreds of positions, all of which are listed as entry level, for new grads.  Of those, the only responses that weren’t “We’re sorry” form letters were Westinghouse and a position in Idaho that called because they upped the ante to requiring an MBA and wanting to check if I had one (if I did, wouldn’t it be on my resume?).

I would say f’ it all and go back for a masters degree, but I can’t afford to do that.  I could go try for a part time job to try and at least cover the bills, but there are two problems with that.  One, as soon as they see I have a BS in Engineering they will pass me over as “overqualified”, knowing I will split at the first sign of something better (which I would).  Two, it’s no good for my morale if I did get it.  I would hate and loathe the job, and feel more like a failure because all I can get with 8 years of college is 20 hours a week at a convenience store.

I started off college very unguided.  I figured put in a year of something, and GM will call, then I will be all set.  Sure, the Astrophysics thing was there, but not a real goal.  One year at delta became two, I got a transfer degree (AS Pre-Engineering) that is pretty much good for nothing, and started just taking classes that sounded fun.  My grades were not great, as I had no reason to keep them up, and I ended up just quitting after the third year.

Finally, I got a goal, realized I kind of liked it at GM, and decided to go for Manufacturing Engineering.  My grades soared, I boosted my GPA by over half a point, and transfered to Ferris. At Ferris, I pulled off a 3.75, several honors, and have been on the Dean’s list all four semesters at Ferris plus my last 5 at Delta.  I put in all that effort, pushing toward a goal, all to get a better job with better pay.  I graduate, and flop.

Now, I question what the work was for.  Sure, I will find something, but it wont be the awesome job I worked for.  It won’t be the job that only #1 in a program could be considered for, it will be a job that I take because it’s a job.  I will work it for a few years until something better comes along, and take that.  By that time, only my performance at work will matter, and the only thing anybody will care about my school career is that I graduated.

I know, nothing can be done about it.  We play the cards we are dealt and that’s that.  Still, I had an awesome hand going.  It’s a bit like being dealt a royal flush, then somebody saying “nah, lets play blackjack, somebody reshuffle”.