Thursday, May 26, 2005

Back to work

The day after my face to face interview I got a call from the manager asking me to be available the next morning (last Friday) for a phone interview with one of their guys in Fort Collins, CO. He was not available for the face to face interview and they wanted him to talk to me as well.

Chantel was over with her youngest son. I had to take the call in my room so I wouldn't be disturbed. The new guy asked a lot of technical "How would I do this" type questions. Some of the questions were an attempt to see if I knew enough about the tools. Some were to see how I have used the tools in the past. He asked a lot of questions that had multiple answers, so I had to redirect things to find out what he was really after. He stumped me on a couple things I hadn't run into in the 9 years I have been administering this tool. I know I blew answering a couple of the questions to his liking due to the multiple answers. After it was done I felt like it was a good interview, but not that I had it in the bag.

A couple hours passed and I received a call from their recruiting guy asking me for my salary requirements. It sounded as if I should have given him a higher number (DAMN IT!). An hour later the manager was calling to offer me the job. He said he was going to try to get me to start as soon as possible, but he wasn't sure it would be any sooner than June 1st. I was notified today that I start on May 31st.

This is going to be a challenging position since we are replicating our data to 4 or 5 different sites, a few being in Europe, China and India. I am excited.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Finally a bite!

After being unemployed for 2 1/2 months I have finally been offered a couple jobs. One here in the Springs and one in South Denver. Both are contract jobs, so not the most secure in the world, but beggars can't be choosers. I have asked them both to give me some time as I also had an interview at another company today that I really want to work at. This is a permanent position at a great company. The interview went really well. They did not ask me any technical questions that I could not answer and the interpersonal questions they asked I seemed to answer to the hiring managers liking. I ask him as he walked me to my car if they were definitely interested. I told him I have a couple other offers that just came in this morning, but I would really like to work with them. He is going to give me at least a heads up by the end of the week of if I am still in the running, but they may not make the decision until next week, then he is going to Russia for a couple weeks and will be out of touch. I hope the others can hold off long enough to get a reply on this one.

When it rains... it floods!

My brother Mike just closed on his house yesterday. He is finally a home owner. I went by the new place today on my way to the interview. It's a fairly old place, with some minor problems that need to be fixed. I am so glad he did this. Now he has something to base his financial future on besides being voted the best bartender in "The Springs" 3 years running.

Billy is also working on buying his first house. He and Pam are moving to Connecticut. They have a great old place with a huge plot of land. Close to an acre I think he said. If I start working here in the next couple weeks I may be able to make it out to LA before they move.

Things are looking up for the Shanks boys.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Lacking time when unemployed?

It is unbelievable how busy I am considering I am out of work STILL.

I get calls everyday from recruiters trying to fill a position here or there. I unfortunately got submitted for the same job by 3 different recruiters. I hope they didn't throw my resume out because of that. I was actually contacted by 7 different recruiters for that same position. I am being a lot more careful when talking to recruiters now. I don't want that happening again.

Chantel has been really good about how I need to leave the room sometimes during a phone screening or interview. Unfortunately I had no choice but to have to do one in the car with her kids the other day. She was great about keeping her kids to a whisper during the phone call in her car.

I am still in the running for the job I wrote about before. I had a phone interview this morning and have a face-to-face interview on Tuesday. I was more nervous with this interview than the dozens upon dozens that I have been through these past couple months. I guess it is because (1) I am getting desperate and (2) I would really like to work with some of my old colleagues again. The phone interview went well. I am hopeful for a good out come. They want to move fast on hiring someone so the fact that I am immediately available is an advantage (but why did it take them weeks to contact me after getting my resume?).

Lots of birthdays have been going on. My nieces Katie and Emma both had birthdays these past few weeks. I have been wanting to fly out to California to see Billy, Pam, and Emma before they move to Connecticut. They found a house near the New York border. It is a very cute place. I just am amazed as the sticker price. How can you people afford to live in such expensive places.

John and Katie and a bunch of my sister Paula's friends got together to plant a tree that was delivered to Paula's memorial. At the memorial the tree was loaded full of notes tied to each branch with small remembrances of my sister. Writing about her still makes me cry.

John called my mom on Mother's Day. My brother Mike and I where there so we talked to him a bit. It still sounds like he is unsure of himself without Paula around. He is such a great guy. It's hard to lose my sister, but they had been married for 30 years (it would have been 31 last month). I can't imagine the whole this has left in his life. They have a lot of really close friends. They do keep his spirits up, but I am sure they also reminisce about Paula a lot too. We all do.

The boy's baseball schedule is intense. They have 2 or 3 games a week, plus the caches want to schedule more practices. Do they not realize these kids are still in school or that there is more to life than baseball?

Erik's (7 years old) team has not been doing well these past few games. This level of baseball they have kids pitching, but if they get 4 balls a coach steps in to pitch. Our coach is horrible at pitching to the kids. I have had to be the umpire of 2 recent games. The other coaches seem to have it down, but Erik's coach doesn't seem to get it. I also believe we have a less mature group of kids than most of the others. Those 2 things together makes it tough to score runs.

Kevin's (12 years old) team has been doing well. They win some they lose some. Lately a lot of losses. Some of this I think is because Kevin was injured. He has been their starting catcher, but a few games ago he severely jammed his catching thumb making it hard to squeeze the glove. Not good for a catcher. He has been playing a lot of right field. I guess I get used to the fact that Kevin is such a great catcher that when one of the other kids steps in I worry and get upset. I don't say anything, but seeing the game be lost because the replacement catcher keeps dropping the ball, or over throwing when trying to get someone out that is stealing bases, gets me all worked up. Kevin is healing and should be back to catching either this Saturday or the game on Tuesday.

Chantel and I are still doing very well although we ran into a big snag this week. Chantel wants to have majority custody of all of her kids. Her oldest son is VERY smart and is very involved in his school. She wants him to like the schools that are down here (I cannot move to her town). She broke up with me for a short time the other day because she was sure the middle school here would not work for him. She wants to do what is right for her kids, even at the expense of her own happiness. I was not going to lose her like that. I quickly called her and convinced her to not end things, and that we should look at the schools down here to make sure they will work. I am perfectly willing to make other changes, like moving to a different neighborhood if that is what it takes, as long as I don't effect my time with my own kids.

She came to see me that night (without the kids). Unfortunately her youngest had to go to the ER because of some blood in his ear. We knew he was in good hands with her (soon to be) ex, but we went up to the hospital to give her some peace of mind. They could not find anything wrong. We came back down to my place. She spent the night, but had to be back up to take get her kids to school.

She brought the kids down the other day to look at the schools. The Elementary school was liked by all. I knew that was not going to be a problem since I knew it was a good school. Kevin went there K-5, and Erik went there for Kindergarten before changing to the school 2 blocks away from Irene's house. Then we went over to the middle school. I knew very little about this school since Kevin goes to a different middle school, again because they are registered using Irene's address. We were hoping we could get him into Kevin's middle school, but the district is over crowded and they won't allow it. The middle school that he will need to go is what I would consider as sub-standard. We were very unhappy with the lack of programs. He goes to a similar sized public school that has an orchestra (he plays viola), plus they don't do anything as far as a student counsel (which he is very involved in). There were other things, but those were 2 big hits against it. He didn't like it, but said he would make due (he is such a good kid). Chantel and I both told him not to worry about it because we would not make him go there. We now have to start looking at other options.

We knew going into a relationship that our kids were very important to us both. We both know that we will need to make compromises, but we also both know that we want what is best for the kids. We have to figure this all out. One thing I don't want to do is lose her. That to me is not an option. I have dated a number of women in my life, but not one has made me fall in love as much as she has (yes, including my ex).

Sometime I think about changing my arrangement so that I could live up in that area, making it only possible to have the kids every other weekend. The thought of that scares me. Am I being to inflexible? Would they resent me for doing this? I know my ex can take good care of them. I just don't want to miss out on so much of there lives. I am not a perfect parent. Would they do better in school and life by not moving from house to house every week? Do I sacrifice some time with my kids so that I can be with the woman that I love?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Great Risks!

I just received one of those really annoying "inspirational" e-mails that your supposed to read, then send it to everyone in your address book. First off, I sometimes read these, but I will never forward them to my people in my address book. But this one is kind of different. No, I am not going to forward it, but it had a few messages that spoke to me. Apparently the Dalai Lama wrote these "Instructions for Life". The first one being "Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk".

This makes me think of my relationship with Chantel in so many ways. Right now everything feels so perfect, but we have so many decisions to make and actions to take if this relationship is going to work. We had a good talk on the phone today about some of those issues. The problem is that this all cannot happen simultaniously. Each thing is a major thing and to drop it all in the mix at once could be too stressful for anyone to take.

I think we both agree that the first thing that needs to happen is that she needs to get divorced from her husband. To most people this would be a "no brainer", but this is not as easy as it sounds because she needs health insurance that he is now providing. Hopefully she can get some way for him to cover her after the divorce. He states that his iinsurance company won't do it. We'll be checking this out.

She has started working on the divorce paperwork. Her husband is trying to put the breaks on, but she is determined. This is not because of me, although I am sure my presence has had an effect on the timing.

Chantel is not currently working. She has been a full time mom and homemaker for quite a few years. I am sure if she got a job she could still not afford her own place big enough for her and 3 kids. I am sure when the time comes I will be more than willing to have them move in here. I just need to get rid of my roommate. I know this is not going to happen for months, but something this big I need to think about well in advance. I don't know if everyone moving into my house is the best thing either. We have talked about getting a different house together when the time comes, but I just can't seem to warm up to that idea just yet. The fact that I am already talking about them moving in here is a huge step for me. The logistics of that alone is going to be a nightmare.

What are we going to do with all the kids? We are not sure where we will end up living. She lives up in Parker with her husband and kids right now. That is an hour drive from my door. Due to my divorce I cannot move my kids to another school district. My ex is the custodial parent even though I have them 50% of the time. Irene gets to make all the big decisions. They would still live 50% of the time with her. So if I were to get a different place where could we move and still be able to get my kids to school on the weeks I have them?

Chantel has not worked out yet if she'll have majority custody of her kids. That is what she is working toward, but she is trying to get this divorce to happen without any disputes. This could get tricky. I hope she does because I don't see her husband as someone who can handle the responsibilty. I think he knows it to, but might be the type to fight it just on his own twisted principles.

He is not a horrible guy. He and I get along ok. I have been helping set up a wireless network in their house. He asked for my help.

I started this post back on the 26th. I am finishing this a week later. Chantel and I have been quite busy together.

I know everyone is thinking that we are moving way too fast. Most people are very happy for me. I have so many friends that are just thrilled to see me in a relationship. Many of my female friends keep telling me that I am different than most men in that I am caring and respectful and sweet. I cannot argue with the description, but it makes me continue to wonder why was it so difficult to find a woman that 'gets me'?

Our friends Linda and Evans had their second son this week. We spent a few hours with them that night at the hospital. It felt very natural to just hang out with them, even at such a time. Chantel got upset with me for the first time when she told me she loved me in front of them and I did not say it back (I do in private and a bit around the kids). A friend told me that she is still insecure with the new relationship even though we are both feeling the same thing. A few hours later we were almost back to normal. I think the incident made Chantel worried that I may not really love her as much as I may seem. It is far from the case. I have a hard time saying 'I love you' in front of friends and family. It just makes me feel like I am on display. I don't know why I care. Hell, I don't even tell my mom that I love her every time I talk to her. That doesn't mean that I don't. I have never told my brother Mike that I love him, but I do. My family just doesn't say it very much. We show it all the time, we just don't say it. Maybe another bad trait passed down by dad.

I love Chantel more that I can describe. We have discussed her moving some things into my house and staying here when I have my kids, and that I may stay at her place when I don't have my kids. Her husband is my only problem with that scenario. We are both aware and both being cautious about the situation with our kids. We don't make decisions without them being in the planning.

We had another incredible weekend. The kids still get along great even though there were a couple incidents. All is well though.

Billy anounced today that he and Pam have a contract on a ouse in Connecticut. Hurray for them. I was wanted to visit them one more time in LA before they move. I was wanting to take Chantel with me, but we don't know if that will be possible.

Still looking for work. More interviews this week.