kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
...I didn't get the job after all. The lady doing the hiring called me over to her office Monday morning to break the news. When Friday came and went with no word, I kinda started thinking they'd made the offer to one of the other candidates instead, and were waiting on that person's acceptance before notifying the others. Oh well. It's actually a mystery who got the job, too--I figured it was the one other person I knew was among the 3 finalists, but she didn't get it either, so it must have been Mystery Candidate #3.

But you know, my primary emotion when she told me was actually relief. Yes, it would have been an interesting role, but it certainly represented a big change, and that part of it was scary. The part of it that concerned me most was that it would be a direct supervisory role over a team of 6 (and probably more over time)--not that I couldn't do that part of the job, but it's been many years since I was directly over that many people, and it's not my comfort zone. And it turns out that was why they went with someone else--while they were "dazzled" and impressed with my other talents, they felt they needed to go with someone who came from a supervisory position and who could really slide right into the leadership role. So anyway, while the change might have been nice and the potential raise definitely would have been nice, I'm not particularly upset that I didn't get it. Life goes on, and now I get to plan my next round of visits to our other offices around the country. :)

On the photo-business front, I took some time last week to update my client tracking spreadsheet, and was surprised to see I'm up to 16 bookings for this year! My soft goal is an average of 2 gigs per month, so I'm right about on track for that. November is stacking up, though, including one day with two weddings. One is a short ceremony with a couple on the beach before they hop on their honeymoon cruise at Port Canaveral, and then I'd rush over to Deland for a more full-fledged afternoon wedding and reception. Fun, but I may need to order a couple more memory cards (and maybe a spare battery or two) to be safe! Might not be a bad idea to borrow a tilt-shift lens from Canon to try out on those too. Right now I'm waiting to hear from a new Mom (the maternity shoot I did a month or so ago) for a newborn shoot--she was scheduled for delivery yesterday, so maybe next weekend I'll go to their place for that. I should invest in some props before then! And work to get some more gigs, I'm pretty clear between now and then.

Well, not true, I have a family shoot at the Magic Kingdom on Friday, so I'm taking the day off for that. Hopefully it will be okay--it sounded great until the lady dropped the fact that her son is on oxygen, which might make things interesting. I guess I'll find out! It's also at mid-morning, hopefully it won't be too brutally hot. Not quite as humid, looks like, that's good. Bring on fall!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Keeping busy today, but I thought I'd take a few minutes for some general short nonsense.

-Hoping for that job offer today or tomorrow. Yesterday I bumped into the guy whose job I'd be replacing, and we chatted for a few minutes. I got the distinct impression that I was his pick, though he's not the primary decision-maker. Anyway, between me and the one other person I know was in the top 3, I think I'm in pretty good shape. So unless that third person has a secret weapon of some sort, I think it's mine if I want it. I did some math this morning on the salary I'm planning to ask for, depending on what sort of offer I get. We'll see.

-Had to return some tadpoles to their puddle yesterday--we just scooped way too many! They were all doing well, but there were like 70 of them and they were eating a LOT. So I tried to get about two-thirds out and back to the puddle, and we'll see how it goes with the others. They're getting bigger!

-Today I ordered a set of rear shock absorbers for the van--I think I'm comfortable doing that job myself. I almost ordered a pair of front struts too, but that looks like a more involved piece of work and involves compressing the coil springs, which is dicey and probably requires specialist equipment. I'll do some more research. I'm replacing the rear shocks because one of the tires that was back there (and was moved to the front when I got a new pair of tires a couple weeks ago) has some cupping, which can be caused by bad shocks. I don't want the new tires to do the same! But the road noise from the cupped tire is pretty bad, so I'm also thinking I'll move that pair back to the rear so it's not as annoying. Really I should just replace that pair of tires too, but they have lots of tread life left so I'm reluctant to spend the money. We'll see how it is once I've replaced the shocks and moved things around.

-Speaking of ordering stuff, today I'm expecting an early birthday present--the LEGO Back to the Future DeLorean set! I wanted it when I first saw it a few weeks ago, but it was sold out and only available via resellers who were jacking up the price. But the other day I saw Amazon had it in stock at the normal price, so I pulled the trigger. It's a Cuusoo set, which are fan-built sets that get voted into official LEGO production, kinda neat. There's a Ghostbusters ECTO-1 set currently going through the approval process, and oh man do I want that if/when it hits the shelves.

-Um.. I think that's about it for now. Back to work!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So the follow-up interview yesterday didn't go quite as planned--it was supposed to be an in-person meeting, but it ended up being a phone call instead since Joan was working from home instead of coming in to her office. oh well, it still went well, and I left feeling fairly confident about my chances. I've talked myself out of that feeling a little bit, especially since finding out about someone else who's going for it and might also have a pretty good shot. She has some strengths and recent experience that I lack, but I bring some other things that i think make me stand out. Anyway, now it's just a waiting game, should find out something next week, probably. Maybe sooner, but I'm taking the next two days off (and then have a 3-day holiday weekend), so I'm not holding my breath.

Speaking of, I am excited about having a nice 5-day weekend! Not that we have a whole lot planned--we plan to hit Disney World a time or two since our summer blackout period ended and crowd levels look pretty good. It's still really hot, though, so if we do that it would probably be shortish morning or evening visits. That's why we have annual passes, after all--we can go and stay until we get too hot or sick of crowds, and then go home. :) We also plan to head over to visit my Dad one day, which will be nice. And other than that, I'm just hoping to work and play around the house and not think much about work. As it oughta be. :)

Not much to report otherwise, so have some recent photos!

20130825-IMG_6560
We all took a walk down to the neighborhood lake the other day since the evening was pleasant--Amy had fun swinging.

More! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Okay, no vampires were actually involved, as far as I know. But Friday I spiffed myself up and came in to work, and had that job interview. It went very well, I'd like to think--we were scheduled for an hour and went for 90 minutes, so I figure it's promising that they thought I was worth spending even more time than planned with. The interview was a tag-team effort with the lady I'd potentially be reporting to, and the guy who got promoted and whom I'd be replacing (and also sorta reporting to, in dotted-line fashion). And as I said, I've worked fairly closely with both of them for years, so it was pretty comfortable going in, and I think I was able to fill in some gaps they might have had in terms of knowledge of my skills and experience. And it was a good opportunity to learn more about the position, and the lay of the land for that. So yeah, I think it went well and I came out of it wanting the job even more than when I went in, so that's good. They said they'd be setting up short teleconference meetings with the top 3 candidates and my potential-new-boss' boss (who is also my present boss' boss--confused yet?) and make their decision by the end of this week(!). I sent a quick thank-you e-mail to both of them this morning, and the guy wrote back saying: "You really were a 'wildcard' as far as interviews go, going into it. You gave me a lot to think about that you bring to the role, great things. Good luck in the next phase (not saying for sure you are there, but in case you are ;)" So I'll take that as a good sign too.

Funny thing is, I have no idea if my current boss is even aware that I'm going for the job. I dropped him an e-mail about it before I submitted my official interest, but he was on vacation and is fairly notorious about being overwhelmed with e-mail so I doubt he even saw that. It's quite possible that potential-new-boss gave him a call about it, or that he heard otherwise. But I don't see or talk to him very often, so our weekly staff meeting tomorrow might be a chance to briefly mention it and make sure he's aware. I don't feel all that obligated to him, frankly, but I'm not the sort to want to leave him high and dry either.

The weekend was good, though we didn't actually do all that much. I tackled some projects around the house, and worked on the ambient lighting for my car (which I managed to get done, mostly--looks pretty good!). I'll have to do a photo post or two to catch up on that. I also got my scooter running and mostly reassembled, and bought a new battery for it--hopefully I can put that up for sale soon. This week I'm planning to take Friday off, maybe Thursday too, and get a nice long weekend (since I have next Monday off for Labor Day). I think we're planning to take a day trip over to my Dad's next weekend, and we'll definitely go to Disney World at some point, but aside from that we have no real plans. Just waiting for cooler weather to get here, but we'll probably be waiting a bit longer for that...

UPDATE: And now I have that second interview at 9:30am tomorrow, at the boss' boss' office over in St. Pete. That'll mean hitting the road bright and early, but that's okay. My potential new boss also gave me some feedback and tips on things to brush up on before that interview, so that's good. I definitely get the feeling that she wants me to get the job (even though ultimately it will be her own decision--probably she mostly wants me to impress her boss enough to agree!). She also did her homework on the salary concerns I had, since the new job would be one pay grade down from my current position. But the pay range of each grade is pretty wide, and she confirmed that my current salary is just about the midpoint of the new job's grade, so I definitely wouldn't lose any money (and I sort of expect I could wrangle a decent increase out of the offer too). So we'll see. I'm glad things are moving quickly!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So suddenly I find myself with a job interview on Friday morning. Yes, less than 2 days from now. Um, yikes?

It's all been quite sudden, see. Monday morning a colleague of mine mentioned rather off-handedly that the former position of a recently-promoted colleague had been posted as an open job on our jobs website. And for some reason that intrigued me. The position is manager of our Social Media team, a small group who look for customers talking about us on the Internet via Twitter and Facebook and blogs and such, and reach out to them to provide feedback (or support, if what they're posting is a complaint). It's been a small but fast-growing part of our customer care organization, and it gets lots of visibility because of its novelty and potential impact. It was basically being run by two guys, the one who was just promoted and a supervisor who's been out on medical leave for months (and apparently isn't expected to return). The open position is essentially to replace both of those guys. It would report to both the recently-promoted guy and another director, and I've worked fairly closely with both of them for much of my time with the company. So almost as a lark, I dropped by the director's office to ask about it, and she was pleasantly surprised that I was interested. Enough so that she apparently immediately told the other guy, because I saw him in the hall a little later and he too seemed interested in my interest. :) So not to get too far ahead of myself, but I almost feel like the job is mine for the taking if I decide to take it--assuming I don't botch the interview too badly, of course, but I'm comfortable with these folks so I don't see that as much of a possibility.

And that means it's pros-and-cons time! Potential positives about the move:
-It's a very interesting area of the business to me, and presents quite a bit of potential for visibility and maybe growth.
-The team is apparently quite established and professional, so they aren't problem children who need a lot of attention.
-The people I'd report to are good, and the director I'd be working for I know well--she looks out for her people, which is cool.
-Possible (small) raise in pay, but possibly not--see cons list.
-Good way to expand my knowledge and skill set for other jobs, not that I expect to leave the company anytime soon.

Potential drawbacks:
-As with any change in position, there are lots of unknowns, but none that scare me too badly since I know the people I'd be working for.
-Right now I just have one direct report underneath me, and he's a good guy who I don't have to worry about much. With the new gig I'd have 6 people, and while I can safely assume they're all good employees, it's still 6 vs. 1 and I don't much like playing boss.
-In my current role there's a good amount of travel, both within the state and to our out-of-state locations, which I kinda like. I doubt I'd have much of that in the new gig, aside from trips to Tampa to visit the one team member who works over there. Not too big a deal, I guess.
-While I rather dislike the degree of feedback and interaction I get with my current boss (read: not much), in the new job I'd be working quite closely with not just one but two bosses, so there's potential for micromanagement, which I don't like either. And there is something to be said for having one's boss located in a different ZIP code.
-The position is posted at one pay grade lower than where I am now--I wouldn't take the job if it's LESS money than what I make right now, but I don't think that would happen and I could even get a small bump in pay (and/or they could bump the job up to my current grade level if they really wanted me). What does concern me is that if I were to go down a grade, my future bonuses and raises might be a little less.

So that's kinda where my mind is right now. I guess I'll just go into the interview as strong as I can, lay out my concerns about the pay grade situation, and see if I get an offer. If not (or if the offer is no good) then I just stay where I am. And it's not that I'm unhappy where I am--it's a good job and it's going well enough. I just felt like this was a good opportunity to look into, so I'm gonna. :)

Well jeez.

May. 22nd, 2013 02:04 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Some mysterious force seems to not want me to enjoy California. Maybe the state doesn't like me? I dunno. Anyway, after a hectic morning at work yesterday I made it to the airport and boarded the first flight, Orlando to Albuquerque. But we ended up sitting at the gate for almost 2 hours. First there was lightning near the ramp that prevented the ground crew from doing their stuff. Then apparently someone flushed a plastic bottle down the forward lavatory and they had to clear that out. Then lightning again. And by the time we got off the ground, of course, we were too late to connect with the Albuquerque-to-LA flight. So we had to go up to Oakland and then down to LAX, and what was supposed to be a 5:30pm arrival turned into 11:30pm instead. And THEN we had a 2-hour drive to Bakersfield, which got us to the hotel at 1:30am--that's 4:30am my time. And I was up at my usual 6:15 or so to get ready for work, so I dropped right into bed. Not only was there no sightseeing, I didn't even get to see any of the scenery on the way to Bakersfield since it was the middle of the night! And that was a damn long day. Blah all over.

This morning I snapped awake at 6am local time. Apparently my internal alarm clock, which has always been excellent, has no trouble adjusting to time zone changes. That and it gets light really early here this time of year, apparently! So now I'm at the office here, and the visit is fun so far. I like the people here. We'll go out to lunch in a bit (mmm, BBQ) and then meet with the whole team, and then I am hoping we can hit the road around 3pm. Our hotel for the evening is in Valencia, which is most of the way back to LA so our drive to the airport tomorrow morning isn't too bad. My colleague is not much for sightseeing and is pretty beat after our late night yesterday, but I am planning to drop him off at the hotel and then make the drive (right around an hour) down to Malibu after all. Should be able to get there by 6, which leaves a couple hours of daylight. We'll see what else California throws my way, I suppose!

The rental this time around is a minivan, which wasn't what I had in mind but was great for the long drive up here. It's a loaded Chrysler Town and Country, very comfy and with satellite radio and all. I'm hoping we get something similar for our trip next week--I guess the good thing about renting a minivan is that you know it's basically going to be one of just a few models!

Anyway, back to work. And then lunch! :)

Hmmm.

May. 17th, 2013 09:02 am
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
You know, this is worth a post here because it's something I hadn't really articulated before, at least not recently.

My friend and fellow Central Floridian [livejournal.com profile] ianthes posed a good question, actually two of them (and feel free to answer one or both yourself, here or there!): "If your life were perfect and your dreams came true, what would your life and work be like in 10-15 years?" Or; "What are the values or virtues that are most important to you? What kind of person would you love to be?"

I answered the first one, like so:

10-15 years from now.. I suppose if life were perfect, I'd prefer to be at least as financially comfortable as I am now (which is to say, sufficiently but not extravagantly comfortable) but without the need for a soul-sucking corporate job. I'd prefer to be earning my living in a creative fashion, either through writing or music or photography or some combination of those things. The goal would be present and future stability with more purpose and satisfaction, and more time for travel, because when the girls are older I really want to show them more of the world (and explore more of it myself as well).

And while that's a goal I suppose I've carried around inside for the past few decades, it's something I've not spent a lot of time thinking about, and certainly haven't set benchmarks and goals around. Just lately I've been feeling a bit of spiritual malaise creeping in again, so this is all timely. I'm not as disgruntled with my job as I was a few years ago (most of which was down to my overbearing and difficult boss at the time), but there is a definite sense that I am wasting away and getting older while accomplishing nothing of note, nothing but paying the bills. I'm not saying I want to quit or anything, but I think a bit of repurposing is in order, as is some effort to spend more time working towards that ultimate goal. No idea where to start, really. But focusing more on creativity seems like a likely first step. :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
20130508-Decatur-20130508-00004

Well, Birmingham and Indianapolis! The shot above is one of a few cell-phone photos I did manage to grab and clean up, but my cell phone camera sucks. So the lesson is to always bring the camera, and/or maybe invest in a decent point-and-shoot for these things. But really, I don't mind packing the SLR with a small prime lens attached, and that would give me much better results. Next time! Though my next trip is out to California next week, and I'm definitely bringing the SLR rig along on that trip because I built in some sightseeing time. Not a lot, and mainly on the drive from LAX to Bakersfield and back, but better than nothing!

The trip last week went well, even though it was all a bit rushed. We flew up to Birmingham, spent the day at the office, then back to the airport to fly up to Indy. Hotel, then the office there, then back to the airport to fly home. It was a good visit in both places, but especially Indy since the new director there transferred up from down here, so we've worked together for years and she's good people. So it was nice to go visit her in her new role. And Indy is really a pretty cool town with lots to see and do--I think our next family vacation might be to there, or maybe there with a drive down to Nashville, which I'd love to take the kids to as well. I suppose I should get through our upcoming vacation before I think about the next one, though! I do kinda like the idea of flying to one city, exploring that and what's on the way to another city, and then heading home from there. We'll see.

So what stands out from this past trip.. there was a neat area of downtown Indianapolis that we drove through, that would be one of the things I'd like to spend some time checking out on a return visit. Avis rocks--I prefer to use them when I can, and I really like the Preferred deal where you bypass the rental counter and go right to the vehicle. This time I also tried their Select & Go thing, where if you don't like the car they assigned you can look through a row of other cars and just hop in the one you want. I generally like to try something new each time I rent a car, and they'd assigned me a Chevy Malibu in both cities, so in Indy I swapped it for a Nissan Rogue. Not bad, but pretty severely underpowered. I'm not really a Chevy fan but the Malibu was pretty good, for the short time and distance I had it! I'm hoping for a Taurus in California, that would be comfy for the long drives.

These trips are getting expensive, though, because apparently I have to do something boneheaded every time. Last time we went to Bakersfield, my camera bag took a tumble from the car and broke my lens, which I had to send off and pay for the repair. This time I very stupidly left my Android tablet in the seat pocket on the flight to Indianapolis. I submitted a lost item ticket with the airline, but haven't heard anything back yet. I am hoping either the aircrew or some other good Samaritan found it so it will be returned, but I'm starting to not be very hopeful about that. It wasn't a particularly great or expensive one--it was an HP TouchPad, which I got once HP discontinued them and started selling them cheap, and it was hacked to run Android instead of its native WebOS. It had its issues but worked well on the whole, though, and I'm not eager to replace it--but I need to, because I am now spoiled enough to refuse to comprehend the notion of 12+ hours of travel time next week without a tablet of some sort. Any recommendations from the peanut gallery for Android tablets under $200 or so? The TouchPad was a 10", but I think I'd be fine with a 7", in fact that might be preferable since I mainly use it as an eBook reader and the Touchpad was a bit too big and heavy for that. Google's Nexus 7 might be good.. Kindle Fire HD is a bit too pricey and locked down, I think. Samsung Galaxy 2? My main requirements are WiFi, good Android compatibility, decent performance, decent Internet and media playback. GPS would be a plus but not a requirement, ditto camera. Oh, and if it could alarm me before I leave it on a plane that would be helpful. :)

Weekend was good.. Saturday we went to the Baby Owl Shower at the Audubon Birds of Prey center around here. It was fun, but already hot and very crowded--if we'd realized either would be the case we probably would have skipped it, but oh well. Always nice to see the eagles and hawks and owls. I think both of our older girls are doing their summer Raptor Camp this year--Hermione's done it a couple times and always enjoyed it, this will be Hallie's first time. Nice that they can do it together! Saturday evening I was supposed to have that engagement shoot at EPCOT, but the weather looked iffy so we rescheduled to tonight instead.

Sunday was Mother's Day, but we didn't do much special. We all went out in the morning so Heather could pick out some new clothes as her Mother's Day present, and then after lunch I took the girls to the Orlando Science Center so she could have some kid-free alone time. :) Maybe I'll post some photos a little later.

Okay, better get back to work. My boss is out of town most of the week, but I guess I can't use that as an excuse to not get work done, especially since this is my last full week in the office in the next month or so!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Yup, lots of trips on the near horizon--starting tomorrow! The first two are business trips, so not very exciting. Especially the one this week, it has exactly zero time for sightseeing. Tomorrow morning I fly up to Birmingham, then go straight to the office there. From the office it's to the airport to fly to Indianapolis, and then straight to the hotel and bed. Next day, visit the office there all day, and then again straight to the airport to come home. Not even gonna take my camera, no point.

But in a couple weeks I booked a return visit to Bakersfield, California. My first time there, we flew into and out of the dinky Bakersfield airport, and there wasn't much time to look around even if the weather had been decent, which it really wasn't. Cold and gloomy and rainy, blah. This time, to change things up, I'm flying into and out of LAX instead, and driving from there to Bakersfield and back. Plus we wanted to have a full day at the office, so it's a 2-night trip this time. So we fly into LA around 5:30pm, which should leave a few hours for sightseeing before we need to get to the hotel in Bakersfield--I plan to at least dip my toes in the Pacific, since I've never seen it, and maybe stop at one of the lakes along I-5, Castaic or Pyramid Lake. Not too exciting, but nice little diversions. Then we spend the next day at the office, and when we leave there I figure we'll see something else along the way back. As a matter of fact, the hotel for the second night is in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles outside of LA, which looks to have a couple interesting things to see in the area as well. Or maybe we can hit Sequoia National Forest before we head south, but I think that's a bit too far in the wrong direction. If nothing else, CA-178 runs out of town along the Kern River and there looks to be some nice scenery out there. We'll see!

But the big one, of course, is our New England family trip, which is just 3 weeks away! Very excited about that. I've mentioned it before, of course, and the agenda hasn't changed too much. I finally did get all the lodging booked, though, including the cabin I mentioned a few posts back. That was a near thing, though. After the rent, cleaning fee, and various other charges and taxes, the $150/night for 2 nights suddenly became almost $550. That was a bit out of the budget, so I said what the heck and wrote them to ask if they could lose some of the other fees and whatnot--I figured maybe they would if the choice was between a discounted booking and no booking at all. And sure enough, they came back and said they could do $440, cleaning fee and taxes included. Not too bad, so I went for it. I think we'll really like it--I used the photos and other clues to find the place on Google Maps and it really does look nice and secluded, out in the woods with a view downslope to the river and mountains in the distance. Community pond nearby, plus the river, and a hot tub on the back deck. Should be a good time.

Now I just need to keep an eye on the weather, which hopefully will be pleasant and rain-free. Looks like the average highs at this time of year are around 70F, which would be pretty good in general, but not too good for swimming, which the girls are really looking forward to. Hopefully the hotel pools are mostly indoor and/or heated!

Okay, better get some more work done since I'm out of the office for the rest of the week--we get back Thursday night but Friday I'll be driving over to my boss' office in St. Pete for a lunch meeting. Nice!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So I survived my trip to Detroit! Actually it wasn't scary at all. The airport was quite nice, and the office I was visiting (and the hotel where I stayed) was about 15 miles outside of the city proper, so it was pretty much your basic suburban area. The office itself was quite nice, and I was amazed to see they had a soda fountain--for free!--in the breakroom. Free Mountain Dew on tap? Yes please! That would be a dangerous place for me to work, I don't think I'd be able to resist the urge to go refill my cup every hour or two. Bad news.

Anyway, I did pretty much no sightseeing at all. When we arrived it was airport>rental car>office, and after we wrapped up work for the day we checked in at the hotel and then met the center director and division VP for a 2-hour dinner. After that there wasn't really enough daylight to make an excursion, and I was pretty beat after waking up at 4:15am, so I just went to the hotel and relaxed for the evening. That was Wednesday, and then yesterday was just office>rental car>airport. What I saw of the area was quite nice, reminded me of Tennessee a bit (since that's the furthest north I've ever lived). Never ventured anywhere near downtown, though. Hopefully sometime when I go back to these places I'll build a little more sightseeing time into my itinerary! I did get to watch a movie and a half, though--I watched Skyfall, which was pretty good. I think I knew it was directed by Sam Mendes, but I didn't realize he used Roger Deakins as cinematographer (I adore him from his work with the Coen brothers), and I was also pleased to see the music was by Thomas Newman (who I adore from a bunch of films, but especially my favorite, The Shawshank Redemption). So it was a good team and they didn't let me down. That was the first of the Daniel Craig Bond flicks I've seen, and I thought he made an okay Bond. Not as suave or dapper as you might like, but good for the action stuff. The other film I started was The Impossible, which purports to be the true story of a family caught up in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. So far it's quite well-done, though now I'm interested in how close it hews to the truth. Not that I'm finding it unbelievable, or know enough to judge it for truth--just curious. :)

Oh, and there was snow! Not a lot, and not much that stuck, but most of the day Wednesday there were snowshowers. It was so cool to look out the window and see flakes lazily drifting down. Not a big deal for anyone who doesn't live in Florida, I'm sure, but for me that was a novelty and a treat. :) Obviously the temperatures were a bit brisk for a Florida boy, but it was nice to finally have a reason to wear a heavy jacket again! Shoulda brought the gloves too.

Tomorrow we're heading to Weeki Wachee state park. That was one of the old-time, pre-Disney Florida theme parks, and now it's a state park (like Silver Springs is going to become later this year). But they still have the mermaid shows and whatnot, so I think the girls will get a kick out of the place. We're meeting Heather's cousin there, who is down in the area for a vacation. She's nice, so it should be fun for all. I think Sunday we'll hit the Leu Gardens spring plant sale! Hopefully they have some good butterfly plants to add to the garden, some unique things that I can't usually find. I got a cool book at Leu Gardens a couple weeks ago, about the lifecycles of a bunch of common North American butterflies, which gave me lots more ideas for host plants. Maybe they'll have some of those!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Bullet-style update time!

• Travelling part 1: After waking up at an ungodly hour to head to the airport, at this time tomorrow I'll be airborne, on my way to beautiful.. wait for it.. DETROIT! Whoo-hoo! Yeah, it's not a destination I'd pick, frankly, but Detroit is one of the markets my company is in, and my job these days is to help support those markets, so this is probably the first visit of many. It looks cold and maybe even snowy tomorrow, so that should be fun for driving. Not much time for sightseeing on these trips--I booked a hotel literally right next to a movie theater, so probably after work I'll get the chance to go catch a flick on the big screen, which might be nice. Not sure what to see, though. Oz, maybe? Jack the Giant Slayer? Argo? For some reason none of the choices really excite me. I guess we'll see.

• Travelling part 2: One perk of all these business trips (and I think the plan is for me to take 8 per year) is that I'll be racking up frequent flyer miles. We tend to fly Southwest, because we like the way they do business, and the no-reserved-seats thing works okay for us since we have small kids and can generally board fairly early. So I've been trying to use them whenever possible for business trips too. Our loose plan for our next trip was New England--fly up, rent a car, and take some time to drive around the area and see things along the way. So Southwest started offering a really good fare to Providence, RI, which is a pretty good jumping-off point for such a trip. So between my frequent flyer points and what the girls have accumulated, we booked a trip for all of us at the beginning of June and the airfare is costing us about $75. Not too shabby! So our plan is to fly into Rhode Island, drive west across Connecticut, then up through Massachusetts into Vermont, and then over to New Hampshire and back down towards RI to fly out. Heather is excitedly making a list of things to see and do, and it's clear that we'll have no trouble filling the 6 or 7 days we'll have. Hopefully pretty soon we'll have a rough plan of where we want to be each night so we can book lodgings, and I should probably go ahead and get an early-bird rate for a rental car too. We're excited, since it's somewhere none of us have ever been before! Should be fun. I was tempted to make it a fall trip so we could get in some fall color, but we didn't want to wait that long. And besides, if this trip goes well, I'm sure we'll want to go back sometime.

• No photoshoots lately, but I did get a new inquiry for a high school senior session, which is awesome. That's a market I'd love to get into, since the shoots are fun and there's a high potential for referral business. So we'll see how this one goes, if it works out!

• Allergies, ugh. For much of the past month or two I've been dealing mainly with red, itchy, watery eyes, but thankfully my sinuses had stayed pretty clear. Until Sunday, that is, when I was outside while Heather raked up a bunch of leaves. I should have known better. I was plugged up all that night and most of Monday, and today I'm still a little runny and coughing. Annoying! Hopefully a trip to snowy Detroit will give me a break from pollen!

• Um.. I feel like there was more, but this will have to do for now!

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