Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Contain Yourself

I have to say, my new job has certainly given me a new perspective.

After five years of operating a forklift loading and unloading shipping containers, one spends many an hour and sometimes many a day inside an 8' x 40' dark, windowless steel box.

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Monday had me supervising the placement of three storage containers by crane...

Setting up and adding counterweight

This is one side of a container you don't see everyday.

The first of three containers being hoisted

180ยบ Spin

Talk about perspective.

Lowered into position

Setting it  down on a dime

Here comes the second one...

Setting the second one into place

What a great way to spend a Monday morning.

Two down, one more to go...

Alley Oop

#3 coming down

Unhooking the last container

What a beautiful January day, I love my job!

The view of Mary's Peak from the office

Every once in a while, turn life over to see what it looks like from the other side. 
~Terri Guillemets

Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Looking Ahead

I started this post as "2018 ~ A year in review" and had a half dozen paragraphs typed out until I realized what I was doing, or not doing as the case may be. You go where you look, and I was trying to catch up, looking in my mirrors and not looking where I should be... forward.

Image result for horizon

So to glance in the mirror and do a quick over the shoulder check before changing lanes, it's been a busy year. Although starting off slowly with some anxiety and trepidation, it ramped up very quickly into somewhat of a blur before finally settling down to a quiet holiday season.

Trobairitz and I both took a deep breath, twisted the throttle and rolled into 2018 not knowing what we were in for or where we'd end up. We sold our house, bought and moved into our new house, both started new jobs and came out the other end somewhat worn out, but upright and unscathed.

We suspected we were droning along in the right lane with our throttle lock on, but didn't realize how complacent we'd become. The overloaded, dilapidated farm truck camped out beside us...
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and the oversized motor coaches moving up from behind were threatening to kill us.

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So we dropped a gear and disappeared.

We found a quiet two lane side road to explore and are so much happier. We're settling into our new home, we both enjoy our new jobs and rather than rambling on about what we did last year, it's head and eyes up as we ride into 2019.

Neither one of us are ones to make New Year Resolutions, but by deactivating our online time suck accounts we do plan to blog more, with short and more frequent posts.

Happy New Year!

Mileage tallies 12/31/2018:
Tiger - 66,320
DRZ400S - 2939
Versys 300X - 2076
TW200 - 1710

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home... it's your responsibility to love it, or change it.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Frayed Knot

There was one loose end I eluded to on my last blog post that I needed to tend to, and I haven't been able to say anything until it was official.

After considerable consideration and even some apprehension...

I tendered my resignation as a motorcycle instructor.

I have been a Team Oregon instructor since 2012, starting my journey auditing range sessions and volunteering to 'throw cones' in the fall of 2011. I don't remember how many weekends I volunteered, but it was more than required, I was hooked and they weren't going to get rid of me so easily. 

I went through Instructor Prep training, then basic training as an apprentice and intern instructor before being signed off as range instructor. I quickly became a classroom instructor as well, after that I moved up to 'mentor' where I coached new instructors on their journey as interns and apprentices. Soon I was asked to take on the responsibility of 'On-Call' support, where instructors in the field would call to report any issues, and had support if they had any questions, or if problems would arise. I overheard a call come in Friday "There's horse poop all over the range!?!" 

Over the past 6 years I participated in demo practices, cornering clinics, Rider Skill Practice courses (RSP), Advance Braking Clinics (ABC), and the new Precision Maneuvering Clinics (PMC), anything to hone my craft. 

Quick Stop from 70mph - ABC (Photo credit Dan Bateman)

Brake and Escape - PMC (Photo credit Pat Hahn)

The Snowman - PMC (Photo credit Pat Hahn)

I contribute everything I've learned to become a skilled and proficient rider to Team Oregon, and I still have much to learn.

So why quit now?

This past year 2018 has been quite stressful, Brandy's boss retired, leaving her to find work. This resulted in having to move closer to Salem to ease her commute, so the entire spring and summer was spent looking at houses, selling our house, packing up and moving. We finally got moved in, somewhat settled and are now enjoying our new home.

However, there was one loose end left to tie up.

We were able to reduce Brandy's commute into work, however that left me with a 40 mile commute each way into work; I guess it's my turn to look for work closer to home. I considered Amazon's new warehouse in Salem, Home Depot's cross-dock center in Salem, even Do It Best and Winco distribution centers are in Woodburn if need be. Maybe something local in manufacturing would suffice, do I even want to stay in supply chain?

I'm a frayed knot

I dusted off my resume, added a few updates, made a couple of changes to shine it up a little and applied for a job posting in Corvallis. Oh great, didn't we just move from Corvallis to be closer to Brandy's work?

Regardless, I applied and waited patiently for either a rejection letter or an interview. Fortunately it was the latter and I was offered an interview. Now to search unpacked boxes for a dress shirt and tie. The interview went well and I was offered the position. Shortly after I tendered my resignation at Lowe's, which was easy enough, but there was one more stipulation.

Since I will be working full-time for Oregon State University, I'm not allowed to teach part-time as an instructor and I had to give up what I loved so much. This was the hardest pill to swallow, but as I mentioned earlier and echo the infamous words of Irondad himself "motorcycling is a journey".

My journey as an instructor was supposed to take me well into and beyond retirement, or so I had thought, but as Yogi Berra stated "when you come to a fork in the road, take it".

No matter how sad I am to give up teaching, what made it worth it is that I am now working for Team Oregon full-time as their new maintenance worker. I'll be behind the scenes, working side by side an incredible team of office staff, site specialists, and instructors. I have a lot to learn the next several months while playing with motorcycles.... I mean servicing bikes, maintaining and painting ranges, and managing an entire fleet of motorcycles, trucks, and trailers. I'll be in and out of the office, working in the barn, or off in the truck visiting range sites statewide.

Talk about a corner office
Team Oregon just had an open house last Friday, welcoming the public to come by and check out the office and operations. I had fun working the event, meeting new people and showing them around.

I officially start Monday morning, it's sure going to be nice making a career out of something I love.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Done and Dusted?

Well, not quite...

We have finally settled into our new home, somewhat. All of the papers have been signed, we closed on the old house, October mortgage payment has been made on the new house, but there are several things we want to change, update or replace. However, after twelve years of renovating our last home, we just don't know where to start. One small renovation project begins another, begins another, and so on.

The previous owners were young newlyweds with a small child, and they weren't the best at preventative maintenance, let alone cleaning. So we've spent the last month cleaning sticky handprints off of walls, windows, and whatever else a sticky two year old can get his sticky paws on. Upgrading all the CFL lights in the house to LEDs revealed much of the grime. The dirt and grime on everything needed to be scrubbed with magic erasers, steel wool, soap, water, and a lot of elbow grease. We have yet to get it all, but we started the "to-do" list of several minor repairs around the house needing attention. New toilet seats, furnace filter replacement, light switches replaced, faulty GFCI plug replaced, pressure washing both the front and back patio, installing cat doors to keep Basil Kitteh from wailing all night wanting out, and deterring the neighbor kittehs from coming in.

Trobairitz is cursing the new kitchen, we had designed and installed the Ikea kitchen in the old house to maximize storage with an abundance of drawers, ceiling height cabinets, corner cabinets with a lazy susan, and a huge porcelain farmer sink. The new house with contractor special kitchen cabinets are short, shallow, and lack any innovative thought into efficiency whatsoever. Something we've both had to adapt to is finding a place for everything and then remembering where that was when we need it.

The bathrooms are also contractor specials with budget toilets, sinks, faucets, and one piece tub and shower surrounds. Ack! How do people live like this? I won't even get started on the carpet and linoleum throughout the house.

I jest really.

It is a nice house and much better than the 16 other houses we viewed previously. It is a 2007, so it has all modern plumbing, wiring, windows, insulation, siding, roof and underground irrigation. It doesn't "need" anything per say, and we've settled in just fine. The neighborhood is quiet, exactly what we were looking for; I am sitting here on a Saturday afternoon enjoying the silence.

We hear a small private plane fly overhead once in awhile as we live near the airpark, and a train horn off in the distance, but we don't mind it at all, nor the light traffic going by on the road behind us. Those sounds come, and then they're gone. There's a rooster down the way, and the cows moo in the distance, just what you'd expect living in the country. No kids screaming, no dogs barking, or chickens squawking, nor pigs grunting like we tolerated in the city.

We'll get to the updates and renovations, once we prioritize the list, in due time and on our schedule.

I have one more loose end to tidy up in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime it's good to be home.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. 

~Melody Beattie

Monday, August 27, 2018

Closing and Keys

We finally signed the closing documents on our new home Friday, and we are expecting to receive the keys today, Monday.

Simple. Right? Not.

We both wanted to walk away from the whole deal. I don't know how realtors, title company brokers, and loan managers deal with this stress everyday.

Cue dream sequence....

I long for the good old days where you walk into the bank, everyone knows you because you've been with them for years, and you chat with the bank manager to discuss a new home purchase.

You meet with a realtor who finds homes to show you based on what you are looking for and want in a new home. She shows you a half dozen homes over a period of a couple of weeks, you decide on one you like, make an offer, the seller counter-offers, everyone is having fun, laughing and all come to mutual agreement. Then you list your house, an offer is made, accepted, and skip to my Lou you've switched houses.

Then comes appraisals, inspections, and loan applications. Look at all the new friends you're making, what fun! So excited to move in to a new home.

Ha! Wake up, the good old days are gone, and everything is done online now. I have yet to meet our loan manager, and it is best that I don't, nor does she want me to. I won't go into details. Evidently, losing documents, miscommunication, and scrambling to finalize very important paperwork is the norm in real estate and banking transactions. We did everything we needed to do well in advance, we got all the paperwork and information together that they needed well in advance.
Why do they do this to us, let alone to themselves? This was not a fun process at all.

I finally received the call from our realtor about 4:00 Friday afternoon that all the paperwork went through, funding went through, and we now own a house. Technically two, our realtor laughed and called us land barons. We'll close on our old house in a couple weeks.

There were no whoops of joy, nor cheers of congratulations, simply a big collective sigh of relief.

Now we wait for keys. There's no final walk through, we get to walk in and discover what surprises await. I was able to wander through the house during the inspection, making mental note of the overall condition of the house, and what immediate repairs are needed. Brandy has only seen the house during the brief half hour initial viewing and offer. We've taken more time test driving and looking at cars than we have putting an offer on a house. If we don't like a car, or someone buys it before us we just order another car. Not so with a house, especially when you're competing with multiple offers. Nor can you simply sell your house because there's a rattle in the dash, because we're not going through this whole rigamarole again anytime soon. I have a poor memory, but this emotional nightmare is burned into my psyche for years.

We'll go in with mop and bucket in hand expecting nothing to be cleaned, blinds hanging haphazardly from the window, grubby paw prints on the fridge from the snot nosed, sammich grabber that lived there before, and we'll clean, scrub, paint and repair while we move in and nest.

Trobairitz is awesome, and such a positive influence in my life, I know that she'll make this new house a home and I love her for that. She'll smile at me and I'll know everything will be alright.

Our old home was a rental when we bought it, intending it to be a two year flip it became our home for twelve years. We renovated, remodeled, landscaped and grew to love this house. We learned a lot, sweat a lot, bled some and even cried some; and I'll miss it dearly, but we'll take those memories with us and we'll create new memories in our new home and I'll think back fondly... while standing in my new double garage!

~ “Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan