Sunday, July 29, 2012

T minus 43 days

The major updates from the past week are fairly vague:
- We've had several people look at our house, but no offers yet (it's only been one week)
- The effort to weed out our old stuff is ongoing and substantial
- We're coordinating with a variety of contacts soliciting advice on relocation questions

The change isn't quite real yet.  There's increasing evidence that something big is coming, like the water level dropping before the wave.  The constellation of options is starting to resolve into a plan and it's very exciting.  Unfortunately this weekend we had a relative pass away so the excitement is muted.  In time, this too will pass.

For this week's retrospective on the top practical jokes in my 15 years at my current company:

4 - Operation Ding Dong (a.k.a. Operation Tin Cup).  While the idea wasn't ground-breaking, the breadth of involvement was spectacular.  One box of aluminum foil from CostCo covers an amazingly - and disturbingly - large area.  This was the caliber of joke that really made people think twice about scheduling a vacation.

(This post written while listening to Peter Himmelman This Too Will Pass.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

T minus 50 days

We're considering doing a documentary called "It's a Logistical Life".  The major updates from the past week are:
- We have reservations for temporary housing starting on September 8th,
- Our house is on the market,
- I submitted by resignation letter (with my last day 5 weeks away), and

- I now own several suits.  (I know, this one's the real shocker.)

The temporary housing at Oakwood Falls Church looks sweet.  Its best amenity has to be that it has steam room.  In DC.  Don't get me wrong: I'm a big fan of steam rooms, but DC in the summer seems like it's probably one big steam room.  I'm imagining a "Steam Room" sign on a door that leads outside to a lawn chair under a boiler exhaust vent.  It might be better than that.  Especially in the winter.

I'm already feeling pretty sentimental about leaving the company I've worked at for over 15 years and one client I've worked with for over 10 years.  It's interesting: I haven't had strong feelings like this since high school.  It's invigorating, actually, and it affirms my decision to make the change.  To explain part of what I'll miss, over the next few weeks I'll explain the top 5 practical jokes (IMHO) we've played on each other over the years.

It's hard to choose just 5 because there are so many excellent candidates, such as:
- when my coworkers used Liquid Nails to glue cardboard boxes together in my new office doorway to block my access (because I was conveniently on vacation during an office move)
- covering the office and parking space of one of my bosses with CU posters because he went to CSU
- when a coworker brought his dog into his office then took the dog to the vet, at which point another coworker placed a few heated and hand-molded Tootsie Rolls under his desk where the dog had been sitting...
- when an overly enthusiastic coalition of my coworkers and clients moved a wide variety of old equipment into my office then added a "Storage Closet" sign to my office door

- when a coworker added a urinal splash pad at the bottom of a tall, narrow, trickling water fountain in our office foyer with a label "Demonstration Unit - Urinal Fountain"
- when my coworkers decorated my 400cc (i.e., relatively small) motorcycle with handlebar tassles, a bike flag, a bike horn, and clothespins with my business cards so they would slap the wheel spokes

5 - Curb Feelers.  This was my introduction to the practical joke big league.  One of my bosses had just gotten a new Pontiac Grand Am, and he was, um, "enjoying its sporty ride"?  He hit a curb while he was driving with a coworker and word spread to the rest of the office.  Another coworker suggested curb feelers could be added for his safety and the mission was accomplished.  As he drove home that night, he called his brother and held his cellphone out the window so his brother could hear the awful noise of one of the curb feelers scraping on the ground as it had slid out of position.  (Practical jokes on cars were informally outlawed after this.)

(This post written while listening to The Smiths A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

T minus 57 days

We're already caught up in the whirlwind of change and it's only been two days.  It's exciting...until it gets too exciting and then it's scary...which gets exciting...until...

I think we're almost over the initial shock now.  I'm incredibly appreciative of getting about two months' notice.  It'll give us time to get rid of 21 years of possessions we've accumulated in Colorado that we won't need or want in our new life.  Well, "new life" is a bit extreme - it's not like we'll get issued Witness Relocation Program hats.  But odds are we won't need a pool table.  (If you're interested in a pool table, let me know.)

The biggest questions/issues we've identified at this point are:
- How long will it take for our house to sell (which will determine when my wife can come out to DC with me, which will affect shipping our stuff, which get the idea).
- What we'll do for long-term housing because of our two dogs.  Let alone not knowing whether we'll be in DC for one year or two, and not knowing in which building(s) I'll work, among other things.

We're still pouring through the State documentation trying to make sense of it all: at this point we're mostly referring to the Career Candidate Guide they gave me after the interview and It's Your Move.

Alright time to get back to work on the house.  This might be the most fun I've had doing housework ever though.

(This post written while listening to Prince Let's Go Crazy.)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm in!

I got The Call from DC yesterday afternoon, followed by the official employment appointment e-mail!  Followed by some significant celebration while re-reading page 15 of the 2012 ACEC presentation and playing with a world map app.  This is freakin' awesome.  (Except that I don't think it's cool to say "awesome" anymore.  It might not be cool to say cool either.  W/e.)  The training class will start on Monday, September 10th, followed by my initial post in Washington D.C.

While I'm insanely excited about the change, I must say that I can't help having regrets about leaving my company.  I've worked with them for 15 years, and I've worked with one client for over 10 years.  This is the only job change I've ever pursued because the experience has been so good.  My company has been incredibly supportive of my Foreign Service pursuit...almost _too_ supportive (just kidding).  It'll be tough to leave, but I'll obviously try to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The e-mail indicates I have 3 days to accept the employment appointment or I will be considered to have declined the offer.  The e-mail includes the phrase "Please review the salary determination Standard Operating Procedure 134B..." - I suppose I'll be adapting quickly to this jargon in the near future.  My acceptance response has to include an updated resume along with other information so I guess I'd better get to it.

Surreal.  But fortunately, real.  And I do feel very fortunate, including about getting almost two months' notice.  The next two months are going to be very busy.  Time to get the house on the market and learn as much as possible about relocating (me, my wife, and our two dogs) to D.C.  More to come!

(This post written while listening to LMFAO Sexy and I Know It.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Register update

I got an update from my registrar today and it's pretty exciting:
- I'm currently ranked 3 of 5 on the register,
- Seven construction engineers will be invited to the September 2012 specialist orientation class, and
- Offers for the class will be sent out soon.

Hoping for the best...maybe sometime next week...

(This post written while listening to Peter Himmelman Weight of the Wait.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Patience test...

I got an e-mail this morning indicating Greg posted the following comment (although for some reason I can't see it now):
"Just found out I made it onto the register as well (#2/4). From the sound of it, there will be a September class for engineers and the invites should start going out after 16 July."

Congrats Greg, that's outstanding!  Although I expect I'm probably #3 at this point, I'm hoping State still wants to fill 7 spots...and that I stay above #8.

I haven't gotten (or requested) any additional info since my last entry.  Two weeks ago my registrar indicated managment had not yet decided on whether or not the September specialist training class will be held, and indicated more information should be available around the middle of July.  Consistent with Greg's comment: at least two more weeks.  Bummer.

I'm thinking this is all part of the assessment: can I survive the wait to determine if my life will change radically.  I'm trying to smile for the traffic cameras they're surely using to monitor my movement and behavior, but it's tough.  I have to passify my anticipation by looking at things like this State presentation at this year's ACEC conference: check out slide 15 showing 2012 and 2013 projects.  MajuroSrsly?

By the way, here's a quick shout out to all the State staff outside the U.S.: hope you have a great 4th!  Based on what I've read, 4th of July celebrations at embassies can involve months of planning and effort.  Thinking about their situations brings a new appreciation to what the 4th means for me, with reminders to avoid complacency and feelings of entitlement.  This represents part of what makes this position so appealing to me: there are a lot of fascinating perspectives around the world I'd like to understand better.

Time for me to get back to waiting.  More [information] soon hopefully.

(This post written while listening to Gogol Bordello Start Wearing Purple.)