23 August 2005

Quick post

I have lots of drafts that should have been posted by now. But for those of you who’ve been watching, here is the unfortunate news:

Hello. Joel,

Sorry for the waiting. It’s been several debates for the position. We’ve been finally settled down now.

I’m sorry to tell you this but apparently I couldn’t convince other key voters during the evaluation. So, I have to wish fruitful results for the next endeavor of your career.

Best Regards,
—- —- —-

jefito Says:
August 24th, 2005 at 6:51 am

May they quickly go out of business.

22 August 2005

First day of school

For me, Monday is the first day of school. That is, it is the first day of substitute teaching.

I left this morning to find my car has a flat tire. So I took Laura’s car and went to school. I substituted for a sixth grade science class and we saw a 26 minute episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy introducing chemical reactions. Then I filled the rest of the time talking about chemicals and chemical reactions.

Being a substitute teacher is a nice job. It is a very poor paying job. And the pay is generally inconsistent. Substitutes start out every school year with $75/day. Once forty days of work have been completed, the pay jumps to $121/day. That’s just over $20,000/year. Plus, the job has no benefits whatsoever offered to substitute. But, if I could, I wouldn’t mind making a career out of it. I’m able to interact with a variety of different students and the subject matter is often varied enough that it keeps me thinking. However, the day a substitute is in the class is usually the day even the best student will break the rules. Sometimes it can be a challenge to manage the class. As the year rolls on and you visit a school more than a couple of times, children begin to recognize you and a rapport begins.

It’s a nice, poor life

07 August 2005

The interview

As I said in my last post there was a mad dash to get on a plane for my job interview. It was a short flight from Tucson to LA, with a long car drive from LAX to Thousand Oaks. But most of the car ride was along the beach or in the hills altogether scenic which took the edge off the shuttle trip.

The next morning, at the hotel I was greeted by the hiring manager with whom I had the phone interview. He drove me over to the company site and we sat down to have my first of several face to face interviews that day. He seems convinced I would do a good job. He pointed out his supervisor’s names on the itinerary and stated that I had to convince them if I were to get the job. Okay, no problem, I hope.

After a quick tour of the company I met with another project manager. He discusses his project and how he also has an opening that I might make a good fit. That’s good news, now there’s two positions I might qualify for. I had two other interviews with other project managers and then went to lunch with three research associates (the same type of position I’m applying for). The food was excellent and the conversation good during lunch. The restaurant is called The Fin and I enjoyed the Ahi I ordered. All four of us also shared a delicious ganache fondue. Lunch went a little long and we returned late. My next meeting was with the director of human resources. It seemed to go well. The vice-president of the company (a former UA professor) was supposed to also visit with me, but I was bumped off his schedule. I hope that’s okay. He was one of the people I was supposed to convince. After more interviews with most of the same questions, I met with Steve, the other guy I needed to impress to get the job. It seemed like it went well and he even looked at possible housing for me in the area (I assume that’s a good sign).

My trip home was uneventful and I left feeling excited about moving back to California. The shuttle drove back to the airport passing the famous beaches of that area and I pined to be out there on a surf board waiting for the waves to peak. Maybe soon…

04 August 2005

Quick drying

If you want to stress me out, put me in a 2.5′ x 5.5′ room, lay down some thinset, and tell me I’ve got to get it right before it dries.

Such was the situation earlier today. Laura and I finished (just barely) laying tile in our bathroom. It is clear that the work was done by a non-professional, but all and all, it took only about $100. We choose to tile our bathroom because it came with half vinyl (in the water closet) and half carpet (between the shower and basin) flooring. The carpet showed lots of wear considering it is only three years old. It just isn’t a good idea to put carpet in a place where there’s so much moisture. But that’s what your stuck with in tract housing developments, I suppose.

The project started Monday evening with a trip to Loew’s to purchase of a few tools (trowel, float, etc… it all came in a bucket for about $20), some concrete, and tile. We figured the bathroom to be 40 square feet and bought two boxes of 20, 12″x12″ tiles. That night I removed the carpet, vinyl and baseboards. Here we are in the midst of the removal:

Then we prepared the concrete subfloor which had glue and paint that had to come up. This was probably the most labor intensive part and we scraped at the floor, I with my putty knife and Laura with a metal spatula. This went into the night and was finished the next morning. Then it was tile cutting time. Fortunately a neighbor has a power tile cutting saw we borrowed. That saved time and headache. Laura decided to take the kids to the park while I cut the tiles because it is difficult to do with Abigail being curious and, in her mind, helpful. By the time they got I home I was finished with most of the tile cutting and stopped for the day. It wasn’t until the next morning that I mixed the concrete.

This is the dry fit:

Starting to put down the concrete and lay tile was stressful to say the least. I was in a cramped water closet, sweating like I do and trying to make it fit correctly. Once I got down the first five tiles I started to get the hang of it. But just I was finishing the water closet I began to realize the 25 lb. bag of cement wasn’t going to work, so Laura went to buy some more. This is the fault of that under-helpful associate at Loew’s who claimed 25 lbs. would easily do 40 square feet. This led to one of the most noticeable mistakes in the tiling — an uneven grout line. You see, I would’ve caught the mistake before the tile set if we didn’t have to spend an hour to get and prepare the next batch of cement. Laura says she doesn’t notice and I suppose that’ll have to do.

Getting there:

I seemed to get in my groove again at about 12:30 and the tiling seemed to be proceeding quickly. With about three rows of tile left I asked Laura what time it was — oops — 1:45. I had a flight to catch for a job interview. The flight left at 3:oo, which meant I needed to get in the shower. We quickly tried to finish the tile (Laura laid the last few as I got into the shower) and I made it to the airport in time. That’s the nice thing about Tucson. It only takes about ten minutes to check in and go through security. I still had time to wait before boarding the plane as I got to the airport 30 minutes prior to departure. It was a rushed day, but nice to accomplish something.

Of course, it isn’t done yet, there’s still grout and baseboard to replace, but that’s another day.