Boomsday : Christopher Buckley

Wowee, I’ve been gone for a while, and longer from reviewing a book. I’ve read a few since the last one I reviewed, but I’ve been crazy busy with life matters. Since my last review, I sold my house, moved to another state, and started a new job, oh and bought another house, which we will be moving into in about 12 days, meaning I’m sure I’ll stumble again with a regular blog post.

So let’s get this ball rolling in the right direction again. I just finished reading Boomsday by Christopher Buckley, who is the author probably best known for Thank You For Smoking, the 2005 movie with Aaron Eckhart. Although I didn’t read that book, I assume it would have the same tone as Boomsday, because as I read the book, I recalled parts of the movie, mainly from the dialogue and the overall tone of the book.

This story follows Cassandra Devine, a 29-year old, who finds her world quickly changing directions when her dad decides to use her college tuition money plus the family mortgage as startup money for a business. This creates a permanent rupture in her and her father’s relationship and she takes his actions out on all baby boomers. She comes to the conclusion that the baby boomers are causing, and will cause, her generation enormous amounts of financial pain, and possible ruin, because they now live longer than they used to.

She enlists in the military with the idea of getting college paid for through public service. She goes into the Public Affairs career field, which leads her to a deployment to the Middle East, escorting distinguished visitors from the U.S. around the base. Her world again takes a turn when she meets Randy Jepperson, a young and defiant senator who disregards all protocols. She and Randy end up getting blown up and an IED. Both her and Jepperson survive, but she is booted out of the military and is left jobless in the hospital back in the U.S. She is approached soon after by Jepperson, who offers her a job in his office.

The shenanigans persue and her desire to push her agenda is let loose.

Overall I thought the book was entertaining. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a political satire fiction book, as I usually steer away from books with any hint of politics, but I enjoyed this. A lot of times I found myself chuckling thinking, ‘It’s funny because it’s true’. But sadly a lot of it is true. I could see the makers of House of Cards reading these books before writing the series.

Rating: 8/10

Almost, almost

My life is going through a ton of changes right now. Changes that involve Yeses, Nos, and Almosts. We sold our house in 72 hours which was a big Yes! We are now reflecting on the inspection. They either want little piddly things to be done (nail the fence post that’s loose, change the AC filter) to big things (re-do duct work, change out electrical).

Let me clarify, our house is in great shape. None of the things they are asking for are necessary for the safety of the house. Inspections are a weird thing. Some guy whose never been in your house comes in and tells you everything he thinks is wrong with it. Some things are legit, some are squabbling. At first I got really angry. I just wanted to yell, “Here’s a hammer. Fix the damn fence yourself!”, but that’s not quite advisable so we are working on compromises now. We’ll have someone out to fix some of these small things, with a few bucks for them on the table to do their own electrical if they so feel the need to rewire the house.

So with the house…we are at an Almost. Hopefully by tonight, we will have a Yes.

During the craziness of selling our house, I also was interviewing for jobs. I had three interviews in one day, so I was really hoping one would work out. One was certainly a No, I think mutually. One was a Maybe, but nothing on their side was solid, which made me nervous, but the last one felt like a Yes and ended up being so. I ended up getting a second interview with a company and they called the next day asking if I’d accept a position with them. A definite YES.

With all of the craziness, and change happening, I definitely needed to get a run in. Between sitting in a car for hours, waiting for people to be done strolling through the house, then stress eating to calm myself through all of this (breakfast tacos and chocolate shakes…mmm), I needed some exercise to make myself feel better again, and clear my mind. I remembered that WordPress was running a 5K challenge, asking people to run/walk/stroll/bike a 5K and post about it. I was hoping to get one in last night, but I didn’t quite get there. I knew time was a crunch because we had plans to meet friends for dinner, and I needed to bathe the dogs as well. I decided on one of our shorter routes in hopes that it was still a 5K. No luck. An almost.

Even though this wasn’t a full 5K, between all my walking around, I’d  hit over 10,000 steps which was around 5 miles. I felt good about that.

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My Almost 5K

 

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Almost. Almost doesn’t cut it. But Almost is what I have and I am hoping that tonight Almost becomes a Yes. Almost is better than No. I almost ran a 5K today among the worry of inspections, dogs needing to get bathed, meeting with friends, figuring out when to pack, what house to buy next, I still got a run in. I still did something for my health. That’s what matters. Getting into the habit of this is what matters.

We will be road tripping it to Omaha this weekend to house shop and hopefully buy, our next home. I’m excited and nervous and what we’ll find. All I hope is that whatever we decide on, I hope it’s a Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

72 hours

Our house sold in 72 hours at more than we were asking for. I couldn’t be happier for that. I’m still sad to be leaving our house after nearly three years, which doesn’t seem long enough, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there and the lessons I learned while overseeing projects, as well as seeing to my own projects.

I can feel myself slowly disconnecting from my house, like a love relationship ending.

I just hope they treat you as well as I treated you….

While all of this was happening over the weekend, I actually had three phone interviews for jobs! While I’m ever so grateful for this, it definitely was a challenge to do this, while getting the house ready for multiple showings. I had to clean up the house, get it looking as perfect as possible, turn on all the lights, light candles, etc., get two dogs and a kitten in the car, and keep them happy for hours, all while trying to prep for potential jobs. Luckily two of the interviews I was able to complete before the first showing, but the third was in my running car with two dogs in the back, one cat in my lap, in a library parking lot. The dogs did a fantastic job staying quiet, and little miss Edith slept most of the time.

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Neurotic Stan to my right, beady eyed Arthur behind me, and Edith on my shoulder – right before my interview.

Two of the jobs interviews went well, and the third….I didn’t feel into the company so I think I’ll refrain from that one. I have a follow-up today on my favorite of the three (yay!) so here’s to hoping!!

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Nobody puts baby Edith in a carrier

Now that the house selling is over, we can rest a little more, and just enjoy the house while we have it for one more month. I want to relax in my house, spend time enjoying it, adding any last fun memories I can before I have to fully let go.

This weekend we will be exploring Omaha for houses. I have a list of potential homes we’d like to see, and hopefully we can see all of them, barring that they’re still available by the time we get up there.

Anyone know a great realtor in the Omaha area?? Anyone?

 

 

Reading instead of reviewing

I’m going to be taking a small hiatus from reviewing books, because unfortunately, I have to read a dry, boring, but necessary book for work. I work in the IT security world, so I have to keep up with the terminology, technology and everything that goes on with it.

I’m slated to take a rather brutal test, the CISSP exam, within the next couple month so I need to hunker down. I like the world of IT security, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy reading 900+ pages of terminology, policy and information about legacy systems. BUT, it has to be done. So I’m doing it.

Which means fun books will be put to the side for now for this beast.

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Wish me luck!

Far North: Michael Ridpath

Note: This book is called 66° North in other countries – this is the US version.

This is the second book in the Fire & Ice Series – the book previous to this is called Where the Shadows Lie.

Now that Magnus has spent some time in Iceland, he’s become a little more familiar with the culture but often still refers back to his American training, which sometimes gets him in trouble, but sometimes turns out to be the thing they needed. In this book, Magnus reaches back to his past to try to find out who killed his father so many years ago, and who is behind the murders of the country’s top bankers and financiers.

Continue reading “Far North: Michael Ridpath”

Changes, changes

I’m not good with changes to be honest. Not fast ones anyway. My personality requires me to take an idea and play with it. Give me time, some internet, coffee, and good music and I’ll probably be willing to hop on board with whatever comes my way. But when changes start shooting at me with records speeds, my brain goes into overdrive, then shutdown mode.

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My personality dislikes chaos and untimely changes

I was just informed I have to be gone for a month for training starting way too soon. I thought I wasn’t going to go to this school so it was quite the surprise when I got the message. My brain starts to immediately make lists upon lists to try to drain all the traffic going on inside . One list for what I need to do at home before I leave, one list to prep for the course, one list for packing, etc. Then I start to think about how this is going to work with my job, and the fact that I’d just put out some job feelers. I guess those prospects are probably gone if they try to communicate with me in the next few weeks.

I’m trying to reprogram my brain to stay calm with these quick changes. It’s part of being in the military family, whether part-time or full, you have to expect short notice. I wrote down a couple of my lists with plenty of room to add more, and stepped away from my work desk for a while. I made a couple of phone calls to let people know what was going on, then went back to working like nothing had changed. I needed some normalcy mixed in with the crazy. So far it seems to be working. Stay calm, work it out, it’ll be fine. *Breathe*. Embrace the change, embrace the suck. You help steer the outcome and your attitude.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it- Chuck Swindoll (2)

Like Chucky boy says, some things I can’t change, but I can change how I react. I took some aspirin, downed some iced green tea, I’m writing in WordPress, then I’m on to the next box to check off. One at a time.

Push through

I hate constant complainers. People who just want to complain about anything to be heard. I deal with that a lot where I work, and I hope I’m not becoming one and I’m sorry to even write this down. But holy crap, I’m about done with it. I’ve been trying to do a simple, and what should be fun, job of coordinating a holiday party for work. Somehow, it’s turned into a big mess, with people complaining about everything, and no communication going between the few that were supposed to be helping me. I think this is why I like to do this kind of stuff on my own. I thought maybe if I enlisted some help on this, it’d make things run more smoothly. Not at all. I am supposed to be the main go-to for coordination, and yet at least twice I’ve gotten information way later than anyone else, with the follow up of, “I thought you already knew that” or “I thought someone already talked to you about that”. Those sentences will drive me up the wall faster than any. I’d rather hear something twice, than someone assume I’ve already heard it. You know what assuming does right? It makes an ass….out of yourself. (Check out the movie Slammin’ Salmon if you liked that).

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This drama all happened yesterday afternoon, so after I left work, I drove to my husband’s work and we had coffee and talked and I was ever so grateful for him letting me talk and complain his ear off. Then I went home and got in a good run to get the good vibes flowing. Then complained a little more to my roommate. Now it’s time to push through it, find the good that can come out of it, and let it go. Like I said, I really don’t like constant complainers (especially if you have no solution and you just feel like voicing your annoying opinion), but today I felt like writing it down. It’s the final piece of me letting this all go.

As far as the good coming out of it, this has motivated me to revamp my resume, and start the look for a position elsewhere. It reminded me that you don’t have to settle in your job if you don’t like it, especially if you’re relatively young. I don’t want my job to become my life, but it certainly doesn’t mean I have to stay somewhere with people who have lost all motivation to try hard, succeed or innovate. Where I’m at now is at a small office with people who have given up on life and have settled into their job, knowing they won’t lose it, even if they do sub par work everyday. It’s not an environment of care, or innovation or excitement, or even happiness. People seem to be miserable, and I think they take their misery out on anyone who has a smile on their face.

So for now, my irritations are sliding off my back, and I’m using this as motivation for improvement and something better.

It’s a new year. Time to make it the best yet.

push through

Happy

I think some people are better at being happy on a regular basis than others. Some people have to work harder at feeling good, especially if something doesn’t go as planned. I’m one of those people. I’m not smiley by default and I don’t always go the optimism route when something goes wrong, but this is something I’ve been trying to work on, and I got the opportunity to test it out when I recently found out I didn’t get the job that I thought I was a shoe-in for.

One of the things  I’ve been trying to do more of lately is to stop and think before I react to something that’s just happened. In this case, I surveyed the outcome of not getting this job. On the down side, it would have been a huge bump in pay (around a 25% hike). It was also a few miles closer to the house and I knew who my new boss would be. I heard from him and another co-worker of his, that the employees are friendly and easy going, which I learned first-hand from the board who interviewed me. The interview had gone great and conversation flowed well. These thoughts definitely made me sad and a bit depressed that I didn’t get the job.

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But looking at the not-so-bad parts about not getting the job outweighed the bad. I still had all my vacation. I hate starting a new job and having zero vacation to use for months. I like my free time! We are planning on taking a week-long trip in November and possibly a trip to MN in December. This would have been hampered, if not stopped, if I had gotten the offer and couldn’t choose my start date. Even though the job was technically a few miles closer to my house, I would have to take smaller side streets to get to it, and it would have negated travel time. Yeah, a bump in pay is always nice (especially 25%), BUT we are doing fine as we are now, and money isn’t a top priority on my list when looking for jobs. I certainly wouldn’t take a pay cut, but it’s not the end-all factor when I look for a job.

happy

So when I weigh out these factors, it stops me from running to my bed and crying into my pillow. There are so many more things to worry about than my next job. Maybe there’s a reason I am staying where I am. I can’t see the future and I can’t see how everything is tangled together so for now, I’m going to sit back, go to work, and work on all the other things I have going on in my life. I’ve been blessed with a lot of positives in my life and a lot of good opportunities that some have not had, so I want to focus on these, because these are what I have. Focusing on what you do not have can only lead to misery and heart break.

Jobs, anxiety

Remember when you were young and you got your first job? It was pretty exciting. Then you kept going, and eventually moved up to a bigger and better job. And through the years, when you applied, interviewed and got a new job offer, you took it up faster than you could say ‘pay day’.

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe this happens to us all, but I feel that excitement go away, and be replaced with feelings of anxiety. Is it just me or does this happen to other people as well? Why does it get scary to change jobs when you get older? Is it because there is more responsibility included? Is it because there’s so much more involved when you get older? Job security, pay, benefits, vacation, flexibility, all seem to mean more when you’re out on your own. When you’re in high school or college, you’re just looking for a  job and pay. When you get older, you’re looking at flexibility, compatibility with co-workers, room to move, etc. Maybe it’s me letting my anxiety take over. I’m not sure. I try not to, because when it all boils down, it’s still just a job. Heck, of course I want to enjoy it, but a job isn’t what defines me.

If you can’t tell, I’m in the running for a new position. I should be excited because it offers a wonderful pay raise and is a couple miles closer to the house….but it’s not the first feeling that comes to my heart or my brain. Maybe because my brain seems to react much faster than my heart, my first feelings are of anxiety. I start to wonder if this new job has some of the qualities of a job that I don’t  like, like a restrictive schedule, bad co-workers, or it’s just a job I can’t hack. Right now, my job is kind of stale, to be honest, but it’s not bad. It’s comfortable (I’ve been here three years) very flexible, which I like (including work from home), offers decent time-off and pays on a good schedule. This new job possibility may or may not offer the same flexibility, pays on an abnormal schedule, but does offer decent benefits. I don’t know what the people are like, and working with crappy people can throw off even the greatest job. For the most part, I get along with the people I work with currently, but there are a couple of personalities that everyone has a hard time working with, which may not seem like much, but it’s an office of about 10, so two bad personalities can make it tough.

At the same time, while my brain is telling me all the possible reasons this transition may be bad, the other part of my brain is telling me that it could be good too (it’s the quieter voice but I still hear her whisper). If you never changed jobs, how would you have gotten to where you are now? True. The people you work with now can be problematic, so what’s to say these new people won’t be so much better? Also true.

anxiety circle

*sigh* This honestly could go on forever. Luckily I have an interview next week, so we’ll see what happens.

Until then…

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