Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Collective Soul

So it turns out there is a great rock club that is less than 15 minutes away from our apartment.  Collective Soul was in town last night with Gavin Degraw.  Not only did I get to see a great show, but I went with 2 people from work too.  So it was a double bonus.  It could have been triple except Kelly had to work so it was just me.  But it was nice to hang out with people from work.

The club is called Piere's and it's actually the midwest's largest nightclub.  It has 4 other rooms - a dance club, a hip hop club, karaoke bar, and a sports bar.  The concert venue is in the middle of them all.  As far as the main room, think Brownies 23 East, but double the size room and about 5-6 bars.  Pretty cool place.  

Gavin Degraw was fairly boring.  He didn't play his 3 hits until the very end.  Those were great, but the rest of his music is fairly blah.  "In Love with a Girl" was amazing though.  His guitar play is outstanding.  Collective Soul rocked a lot more than I thought.  You tend to forget that they gained popularity out of the Grunge movement and it's only recently that they have embraced the pop sound.  "Shine" was my favorite of the night, and they played it fairly early on, which made me enjoy their set a lot.  Although, with 7 number one singles, they have a lot of hits to get the crowd going.  Pictures of Collective Soul are below (my Gavin pics didn't turn out well).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kelly's Birthday

Kelly's birthday was on Saturday.  We went mini-golfing, and here we are about to go to dinner.

Our plan was to go bowling that night.  She even invited people from work.  We looked up the place online and they had a $8 "Saturday night Live" package.  Unlimited bowling plus live music for 3 hours.  We drove there, and the place was CLOSED.   Huh?  On a Saturday night?  Their website had no indication.  It's apparently "summer hours".  Anyone care to explain??

Bedroom Pictures

Our bedroom:

I'm glad we got the King bed.  It fills the room and still leaves space on the sides:

My side:

Kelly's side:

View from the bed:

Our HUGE walk-in closet.  Enough to hold both of our clothes for all seasons.

Our second bedroom - come visit us! There's a place to stay!

My desk:

It has nice space to store stuff:

And my guitar amp fits right next to it.  I bought a table to fit over top so that my laptop can sit and dock into the computer monitor.  The amp is also all set up to record, so I'll i'd have to do is plug in the guitar and go.

This is closet #2.  Yes, it's also walk-in.  Pretty deluxe.  We have plenty of storage space, with room to spare.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


The rest of the week went much better than the first day.  It was good when the graphic designer, Jenn, came back on Tuesday, because I can relate a lot better to what she does than what the web developer, Joe, does.  Here's my fancy nameplate:

And my awesome computer setup: (it is running windows on the right screen and mac on the left, but it's all running inside the mac computer)

My desk is huge!

And has fancy technology, like a Cisco phone.  The first time i missed a call I was very confused as to what to do.  I had to get the phone guy to train me.  Yeah, there's a tech guy just for phones.

This is the entrance from the lower level.  They originally called it the "basement", but it's really just level one and level 2.  Both have ground entrances.

My main task this week has been getting e-mail campaigns ready to send out.  I've worked on making the design compatible with Outlook 2007, so that they display correctly.  I also wrote a proposal for a change to the layout of the homepage, sorted out the files from the guy before me, and generally tried to understand how the company functions.  I can't say i'm excited to go back on Monday, but i'm not dreading it.

On Friday, I got to film the Friday morning meeting.  Every Friday our CEO talks to the entire company (all the Fort Wayne employees and the branch companies via teleconference) for 30 minutess in the morning.  It's cool to have a CEO that's very engaged.  He treats us like an equal, hates the title of CEO, his door is always open for suggestions, and he seems like a pretty relaxed guy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

first day of work

I got to work at 7:50 and there was nobody down in my department.  I debated what to do for a second, then walked up the stairs to HR.  On my way up, I passed the VP, Jason, who then walked with me to HR.  I signed some tax forms and heard about benefits for a little while, got a tour, and met the CEO Tim Ash.  He was dressed really casual and seems like a good guy. Then I was on my own for about an hour, so I sat at my desk and fiddled around with setting up my computer.  Joe, the web developer, helped me log in, but he was out last Thurs and Fri, so he had to catch up for a while.  And the marketing manager wasn't available until 9:30, who wanted to meet with me.  Oh yeah, and my boss? She wasn't in today.  Neither was the graphic artist.  So basically, out of the team I work with, 1 person was there.  Great.

When I finally met with the marketing guy, Craig, he pretty much said welcome, keep me in the loop, do good work, and Joe will fill you in.  Length of meeting: less than 3 minutes.

I went and got lunch and also went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to kill time.  I get an hour for lunch.  I need to talk to my boss about this and see if I have to take that much time.  They say they work "bankers hours" from 8-5.  But it seems like my job isn't very contingent on that.  I'm hoping I can either work 8-4:30 or 8:30-5 and take a 30 min lunch most days.  An hour is way too long for me.

After lunch, Joe had the site "set up" for me to work on.  He changed the way it worked in some way to give me access but keep the site secure.  I'm not entirely sure how this whole thing is supposed to work.  I've never worked with an "advanced" site.  The pages are html, but also work off of some form of a database and use php.  I had a mild freakout in the middle of the day due to the fact that I had no training and was sitting there "working" having no clue what I was really doing.  I have full access to the css files for the layout, but so far he only gave me the index page for the html.

It was a LONG day that really dragged.  I hope it's better once everyone is there and I start to understand what is going on.  The one bright spot, is my computer is a BEAST.  Mac Pro Quad Core Intel Xenon processors (that's 8 processors!), with 6 gigs of ram and 1.5 terabytes of storage.  It runs windows and Mac on 2, 24-inch Apple cinema screens.  WOW!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Downtown Adventures

Friday night we headed downtown to the Tin Caps game.  Here's a shot of downtown from the 3rd story of a parking garage:

This is the entrance to Parkview Field (the stadium).  This is it's first season.  The team was around before that but they moved downtown and changed their name from the Wizards to the TinCaps.

Nice stadium.  Very modern - similar to the Phillies park.

Good attendance - over 7,000.  It only holds 8,100 total.

The TinCaps won 5-4 in 10 innings.  We actually left after the 6th inning because it was already 2 and a half hours into the game, and it didn't look like it was going to end anytime soon.  Good move - because it was a 4 hour game and didn't end until 11:10.  We caught the end on TV back at home.  We missed the post game fireworks, which I did see on TV, and they actually looked fairly decent.  Something to keep in mind - because they show them every Saturday after a home game.  We could go downtown and watch them without paying for the game.  A good night out - but even with tickets only costing $9 each, we spent another $30 on food and drinks - so it's not something to do every week or anything.

Maggie likes to lay on my lap as I'm trying to do things on my laptop.  Makes it hard to do any work on the couch.

On Saturday we went down to German Fest for the Wiener Dog Nationals. 

Yes, we took our Wiener Dog (can I just call her a Dachshund?), but she didn't race.  Maybe next year!

There were over 100 Dachshunds!  128 raced head to head in a massive tournament, March Madness style.

They raced in a fenced in area, from one handler to another.

First one to cross the finish line wins and moves on!

We stayed for an hour or so.  There was other stuff happening in the main tent for Germanfest (beer, food, music and polka, etc), but dogs weren't allowed in the main tent.  Maggie is a great dog - she was a little overwhelmed by so many dogs and people, but she never barked and didn't pull at her leash at all.

For dinner, we had quite the kerfuffle (mom, I put that word in just for you) with Pizza Hut.  More on that another time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Week of Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates this week.  It has mainly been a result of actually getting stuff done, rather than just sitting around!  So here's a long update.

First of all, I told my mom she was wrong about something she had said and would find out on my blog: They DO have Sunoco in IN.  She had said before I left home "you'll have to get used to different gas stations.  They won't have Wawa or Sunoco."  Now, what are the odds of magically finding a Wawa???

I got my official offer letter from Ash and went in to sign some basic paperwork.  Then they gave me a form to take to the lab to get a drug test.  I got a keycard to the building and am officially employed!  I start Monday with signing tax forms and getting an orientation, then it's time to slave away 8-5, 5 days a week.  Anyone want to take bets on how long it will be until I'm complaining and wishing I still did all freelance?

Kelly had to go to bed early because she worked at 10 on Wed.  Her schedule is tough: 2pm-11pm on Mon and Tue; 10am - 6 pm on Wed; and 8am - 5pm on Thur and Fri.  Our schedules will be the same Thu and Fri.  Other than that, I'm not sure what our regular schedule will be for going to bed.  I tried to stay up and managed to stay up until 11:30, but Maggie was running in and out of the bedroom and kept waking Kelly up.  So I eventually gave up and went to bed. 

I had a coupon from Macy's for 20% off everything, so I figured I should buy some new clothes for work.  They let you wear polos for the IT dept.  SO i bought a bunch, at good prices.  I should be set for a while - I just might need new pants also.

I picked up the second night stand that I had ordered for our bedroom.  So now we have nightstands finally.  It looks good.  I need to take pictures of the whole place soon and post them.  We hung stuff up on the walls finally (we were debating what should go where) the apt is "finished".  It looks good and is starting to feel more "homey".

Ok - Arby's.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I used to have a love affair with Arbys.  Jess and I even drove over an hour one time to visit a particular Arbys that was "better than the rest".  BUt that was all for their chicken fingers.  Then they got rid of them in favor of popcorn chicken shakers.  Not good.  I boycotted and was deeply disappointed.  Flash forward to Wednesday...turns out Arby's has "Freebies" on Wed.  This week they were giving away the chicken club sandwich if you bought a drink.  I think it's new.  I stopped by a drive though and got one for 1.61 (price of a small drink).  It was good.  They even got the no tomato part right while being super busy.  Then, on my receipt, there is a coupon for a free Beef and Cheddar.  I'm still not 100% sold, but they did a good job at winning me back.  There are also 2 of them within 5 minutes, so it seems I might let Arbys back in my life.  In time...

I got my car registered in Indiana!

I went with the "In God We Trust" plate because the other one is kinda boring (blue and white).  At least this has the flag and some points of interest.  The plate itself is cheap.  PA has raised letters, this is flat, and not as thick.  I guess it makes no difference, I just found it easier.  It wasn't too much hassle to get once I had the correct form signed by my mom.

I did 2 loads of laundry.  Our washer and dryer and much nicer than the ones at home (well at least the dryer anyway...helps to not be from the 1980's).  But big surprise - it's still in the dryer and needs to be folded.  I guess old habits die hard with that one, Mom.

Here's the biggest surprise of all: I went to bed by 11, asleep by 11:30.  When's the last time that happened???

I got up at 7, took Maggie out, and stayed up.  Being up at 7 with 8 hours of sleep is odd for me.  I got a bunch of stuff done by 11, then took a break for lunch.  I finished the website I was working on (finally - still 2 more to finish by next week - and I start a full time job!)

I set up a new bank account.  It's ironic because the website to do online banking from my PA bank was down today.  Good time to switch I suppose.  My new account has lots of perks - including rewards points for using the debit card.  It's also the same bank Kelly has, which is nice so that we can make deposits for each other.  Oh and I get a credit card from them also (in addition to the debit card), so that takes care of that.

And that brings us up to right now.  Kelly and I are getting along just fine (it will be nice to have a weekend and see each other more).  The dog has made things more challenging at times, but overall it's nice to have her and she's pretty easy.  She's getting more comfortable with us as well and less clingy.

I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Just when i was thinking about joining the circus for all the hoops Ash Brokerage was making me jump through...I got a job offer!  Sort of.

Let's backtrack.

I went in on Friday for my rescheduled interview with the Executive VP.  I had anticipated more of a meet and greet because after interviewing with HR and the IT team, what more could they need to know?  Well the interview was intense!  He sat at a table across from me and was rapid fire with his questions.  And some of them were tough - why did you get into web design, have you applied to other companies, what do you know about Ash, why work for Ash, etc.  He set me up a bit too - asking what i thought of the current website.  I talked about the things I liked.  Without asking what I didn't like, he said "I hate it.  That's why we want to hire a web designer and not just someone to update it."  Great.  He asked me to write up a proposal of sorts - outlining what I would do to the website. 

I was supposed to get a login for the website on Friday (you can only see a few pages without it), but I didn't get the login until this morning.  So i put together a 3 page proposal in a few hours and sent it off.  A little afterwards, I got a call from my Kelly IT services rep that the VP thought I wasn't committed enough to the company and what they do.  Don't know why he got that idea.  I'm not particularly interested in insurance - but who is?  It's not like i'm selling insurance - i'm a web designer!

My rep asked me to write a letter to the VP expressing my interest in the company and the position.  I had already sent him a quick thank you with the proposal I wrote, but this was more thorough.  I sent it to Kelly IT to read and they liked it - told me to send it at 2:30.  Around 1:00, I was told to fill out an application on Ash's website to give them all my info.  I did that and told Kelly IT that I would send the letter shortly.

Then I got a call from Kelly IT that sending it was not necessary...they were ready to make an offer!  Finally!!

That was at 2:30 and I haven't heard from the HR rep from Ash yet, so it's not 100% official. Thus the sort of comment at the top.  For all intents and purposes, I'm employed - I just haven't been given the offer from HR.  So woo!  But more waiting until tomorrow i suppose.  However - I start Monday!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Church #1

We went to church this morning at Covenant UMC, which is right around the corner from us...a 2 minute drive.  It's a modern church, built in the 80's.  I'd call it a medium to large church - certainly not a mega-church, but thriving and active.  It has a large academic wing which we didn't go into, a fellowship hall area, and a decent sized sanctuary.  The sanctuary is fairly contemporary, but with classic pews.  They have a screen in the front, but the projector is not celing mounted, so I think it's fairly new.  They have 3 services - 8:30, 9:45, and 11.  The 9:45 is contemporary.  We decided to try the 11:00 traditional service.

There were a lot of things that we didn't like.  There was a choir area but no choir (I assume because it's summer).  So when they played the anthem, it was just music, no singer.  Which was a little strange because it came quickly after the prelude, so it was like music, hymn, more music, then offering (more music)...all without singing (except for the hymn).  There was a guest preacher who talked about how old people are wise and favored by God.  It was fine, except he made the point in 5-10 minutes, then went on for another 15 about the same thing.  Kelly and I both spaced out.  He did have media (pictures on the screen) to go with it, but we actually found that to be distracting.

There was communion which was slightly awkward because we didn't know how they did it.  It was at the alter rail and they served the elements directly to you, in a somewhat random fashion.  We were looking at the people next to us to see if everyone ate together or on their own - turned out to be on your own and then people stood up randomly.  It seemed slightly chaotic to me.  Oh also, there was no kneeling pad - just a rug - and I didn't realize that so i bashed my knee when i first knelt down.

One other strange moment was the "Celebration of Stewardship".  Before they collected the offering, a lady walked up front (from the stewardship team), said maybe 10 words, told us to read a quote about stewardship in the bulletin and then called for the ushers to collect the offering.  I thought it was odd that she would come up - they already had a pastor, the liturgist, 
and a guest preacher.  Made things kinda jumpy.

Finally, they had another person who was leading the singing.  But by leading, all he was doing was conducting.  I don't know about anyone else, but it wasn't helpful at all to me.  I was just listening to the organ and following that - which would sometimes be at a different spot than him.   They had him, an organist, and a pianist.  Excessive? I also felt like the order of service was a bit odd - possibly just because it was different than I was used to.  Here's what it was:

Welcome / Announcements
Call To Worship
Hymn (Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart)
Celebration of Christian Community (aka Sharing of the Peace, greeting neighbors)
Anthem ( No singing or words)
Celebration of Stewardship (Offering - included the doxology and prayer to bless offering)
Communion (Included a FAST prayer for people in need based on prayer cards.  Also the Lord's prayer)
Closing Hymn

Overall, I wasn't all that impressed, but we agreed we would go back and try again next week when there isn't a guest preacher (the pastor was there, he just didn't do the message).  We'll see if it's any better next time.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dog Life

The name she came with is Judy, but we are going to change that.  We met her foster family and an adoption agent in the front lobby of Pet Smart.  She instantly warmed up to us.  We asked some questions, took her for a walk around the store and decided she was right for us.  She's very calm and loves people.  We paid $250 for her adoption fee and that was that.  They gave us a packet of info.  The we talked to a trainer at Pet Smart who gave us advice on food and treats to get for her.  They were very helpful.  And now, without further delay, more pictures!

In the car for the ride home from Pet Smart

She's a lap dog for sure!

All the years of practicing ear rubs with Morgan have paid off:

She LOVES being petted.  She will whine if you are sitting next her and not petting her.

She's a miniature Dachshund...tiny!  Bigger than a Chiwawa though.

Kelly is SO happy now.  Life is complete.

Yes, I know.  She's adorable.  Jealous?

We took her for a walk before we took her inside our apt.  Kelly had read that helps adopted dogs get aquatinted with their surroundings and realize they are in a new place.  We took her around the apt on her leash and then let her go and she seemed right at home.  Not timid at all.  It's nice to know that she came from a good home and wasn't abused or anything.  Deciding if she was allowed on the couch or not was easy...she hopped right up!  It's fine because she doesn't shed at all.  And our bed is too high so she can't get up on that unless we lift her up.

I took her on a longer walk later and found out we have a "dog park" in our apt complex.  It's a fenced in area of grass where you can take them off the leash and let them run.  There's also a bench, which had a ton of fur below it, so it must be a great place to groom them.  After that we RAN for a while.  For such a small dog, she's fast.  I was almost sprinting to keep up.  SHe finally fell asleep on the couch next to me, and likes to be close, with her body pressed against mine.