Friday, August 31, 2012

Bill's Special Birthday Celebration

It was a special birthday this year for Bill.  The girls and I planned a special surprise party for him with our friends a few days after the actual birthday.
In order to keep our secret, we took Bill to dinner at the Good Earth on Tuesday evening (his actual birthday).  Here are some family photos at that event.
Sarah, Becca and Bill - Happy Birthday, Bill!

The surprise birthday was Friday evening after work at Don and Beth's house.  Becca and I went over early in the afternoon to cook dinner and help Beth organize the house.   I went back home to meet Bill after work and drive up to dinner at Don's.  The cars were parked down the block out of site and there was no evidence of extra people at the house.  Don and Beth greeted us at the door and then Sarah, Becca and our friends marched out through the the kitchen singing 'Happy Birthday to You'.

Bill has peach pie - his favorite.

 Becca and Sarah with Bill
 Bill with Don and Beth
The gang at the party

I Have a New Job

I started a QA Analyst job in Red Wing two weeks ago.  I'm part of the IT team for Red Wing Shoes.  We car pool to work and the office is in a newly remodeled building in downtown Red Wing.
The office is three stories with nice break rooms on 2nd and 3rd and a cafeteria on 1st.  We have free coffee, water, juices, soda and more provided.  It's a convenient walk up and down stairs to conference rooms and back to my desk throughout the day.

The weather has been beautiful these last couple of weeks. The fountain is right outside our office and  the St James Hotel is across the street.
A nice Red Wing Shoe Store is across the street from the corporate office.
I'm in a nice location.  I work with a great staff.  I like my new job.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Family Photo

Will with his family - Lucy, Liz and Megan
Becca took a bunch of family photos our last evening in Little Rock.
This is one of my favorites.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Family Weekend in Little Rock

Sarah, Becca and I had a great time with our family in Little Rock last weekend.  We left at 4:30 PM on Wednesday and traveled all night to arrive at Will's house at 5:30AM Thursday morning. After a little rest we went out to lunch and made a Target run for forgotten supplies.  Will had to work all day but he was home in time to go to 'meet the teacher' with us and enjoy a great Mexican dinner after.
 A Target 'carriage' for Megan and Lucy
The moon and some stars for her first grade teacher

Dinner out with Aunt Sarah and Aunt Becca and all

Becca requested a breakfast at The Waffle House.  We arrived early Friday morning for a great breakfast and a fun start to the day.

We enjoyed my favorite activity later in the morning.

With swimming in the afternoon at their family's pool

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting a Job

My summer plans were hijacked when my contract of 12 months lasted for only two months.  I wasn't expecting this (nor were the 25 co-workers that were let go at the same time).  My last date on site was June 22.

I updated Linked In, asked for recommendations, contacted former employers and began my search for a new job. I signed up for seminars at Minnesota Workforce.  Although I signed up for several but I thought I wouldn't be able to attend all of them because I would be working real soon.

One of my friends presented my resume to 'First Tuesday Club' in June.  I started getting calls right away from many recruiters.  I got organized with a notebook to keep up with all the people, companies, and positions coming in.  I met with recruiters and learned about their companies.  We discovered together what I was qualfied for and what I was not.  As a manual testers for 10 years I had lots of experience but automated testing and agile testing were not among them.  Early in the year there were lots of job requests for manual testers, but lately the trend was for other tester types and skills.  It was very frustrating.  But I did stay very busy.

Even when I was able to find manual testing jobs, I was unable to convince employers that I was technical enough for their team.  My summer was wasting away.  Money for bills and rent were piling up and still there was no job offer in sight.  I was offered a job but with the contract terms in hand, I went to turn in the paperwork and the job was pulled back. (Can they do that?)  Obviously they can.

So I started over. I emailed my favorite recruiters and friends for updates.  They were great and several even had new job requests to share with me.  Several interviews followed.

On Monday, August 13  I received two offers on the same day.  Both were good money, contracts to year end, and farther driving distance than those in the past.  I pursued both opportunities and made a decision on Tuesday.  I also signed papers and completed all of the position information for a start date of August 20th.

The next day my daughters and I left for a long weekend trip to Little Rock, Arkansas.  The timing was great and I was able to take my mini-vacation with a job ready when I returned.

A special thanks to many of my recruiter friends and contacts:

  • Kerry Sieling at Modis
  • Sara Link and Mary Cosgrove at TEKsystems
  • Christian Pederson at The Bulldog Companies, L.L.C.
  • Kirk Walton at tapQA
  • Tiffany Flesness at Latitude

Please check with any of these wonderful people for support or job opportunities at any time.  They are available on Linked In and I highly recommend all of them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Beautiful Daughters

Sarah and Becca are home for awhile.  Becca returned from Paris at the end of July and Sarah moved back until she can find a roommate and an apartment again.  It's great to have them both home briefly and it's great for them to be together again.
They headed out camping this weekend with several of Sarah's friends.
Hoping they have a great time.

Here's Becca with Capone - relaxed and refreshed after her long flight from Europe:

We are so blessed to have them home for part of the summer.

Next week we are traveling to Little Rock to see our family there.  Sarah and Becca are driving and I'll be co-piloting to make sure we get there in less than 23 hours.  It's a twelve to fourteen hour trip but last summer the girls went off route a little and it took them a bit longer to travel south.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moving Events

My friend moved from a one bedroom condo to a three bedroom house this last weekend.
I volunteered to help her as much as I could and she took me up on my offer.
It all started out fairly well a week ago Sunday, July 29 with kitchen and craft packing. (See my post on that date for the details.)
On the following Friday I house sat at the new place while cable was wired and installed.  The cable man was on time and done as expected and I left for the day.  So far, so good.
Here's a peak at the house and my make-shift office on Friday:
 Dining Room
 Front Porch

Saturday morning we picked up the U-Haul at 7 AM.  The U-Haul worker was in a nasty mood and misdirected us out of the parking lot.  He was nasty to all the customers that morning.  Not a good way to start the day. 

We arrived back at the condo by 8 AM as planned and ready for the movers to arrive between 8 AM and 9 AM.  Ryn and I packed up the re-fridge and freezer items and I took them and installed them at the house so Ryn could wait for and direct the movers.

I returned to the condo to lend support during the packing of the U-Haul truck.  Two men arrived as the delegated experienced movers and the 'fun' began.  The rest was a comedy of errors - scrapes and breaks with their photos to back up the errors.  It rained most of the morning. Packing and unpacking of the truck to get it just right took forever.  Do these men work well together?  We were beginning to think NOT.
Packing in process at the condo

Good-bye condo

The first load in the truck was done at noon and everyone headed to the house in separate trucks and cars, just a few blocks away. The U-Haul arrived and the unpacking began but the two men did not seem to get along at all.  There was constant bickering and re-doing and everything was too heavy according to the workers.  A few requests just could not be done at all.  They were soon so tired that the boxes were pushed to the living and dining rooms to be dealt with later.  

After 2 PM when the truck was due back at U-Haul, they were almost ready for the second trip for the small last load and the rest of the unpacking.  Needless to say and with a few other mishaps, the movers were done at 6:30 PM.  
NOTE:  There are no photos at the house on Saturday.
It was too crazy during all the unpacking adventures.
One more mishap, the battery on the U-Haul truck was dead, the engine would not start and the truck could not be returned.  (U-Haul closes at 7 PM.)  Luckily a neighbor had jumper cables and we were able to return the truck.

What a day and what a story.  It's my version and I'm sticking to it!

Kim's Shower

Barb's daughter is getting married in September.
Beth gave a lovely shower and we all had a fun time.
It seems like just yesterday when we were attending each others weddings and now our children are getting married.  Where does the time go?

Beautiful pink roses and stunning Kim

Kim with her mother, Barb, her grandma, and her sister Allie

Wonderful selection of food from our hostess Beth

Beautiful day for luncheon on the patio

 Kim opening some gifts

Another guest arrival