Monday, August 22, 2005

Beware of cardboard wolves!

Today was Russ's first day of work, and therefore the first day I have on my own here in the Land of Blue Spaghetti. Right now we only have one car between the two of us, so I was up and at it early to drop Russ off at the office, or at least what we thought was his office. Turns out his real office was a block or two away. Oh well, just goes to show that you can't always trust the address an employer provides on it's web site to be the right one.

Considering I am among the ranks of the unemployed, I managed to do quite a lot today. Actually, quite a lot of it was related to my old job, as my sucessor, Mary Ann, has many questions about how to do all the things I did - which is fine, since I expected this would be the case. She's sort of starting off in this position the way I did, which was having an interst in doing the job, but not really having a lot of the knowledge to do it. Only difference is that when I started, no one else was really doing my job before me, so I had much lower standards to live up to. So I probably spent an hour answering some of her email messages this morning, and this afternoon we talked for a couple of hours on the phone, just walking her through various and sundry things like composing the weekly newsletters and how to approve companies that want to be listed in the business directory and jobs web site. Mary Ann's a smart lady, so even though she might not know too much what she's doing now regarding building web sites, I know she'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

In between the emails this morning and the phone calls this afternoon, I made it my task to do some directed exploration of the area where we'll be living. First I made a trip out to Bloomfield to visit the One-Stop Career Center to pick up some information about starting a business in New Jersey, as well as get some information about entrepreneurship seminars in the area. I met a nice lady named Danielle, whom I spoke with earlier on the phone. I think she's pretty much the first non-sales person I've interacted with since we arrived here on Thursday.

Because I found a great (read: FREE) parking space while visiting the center, I decided to explore Bloomfield on foot for a little while. Not too much of interest over there, but I did have a nice lunch at Quizno's. Turkey and Swiss with some iced tea and a cookie. I would have eaten someplace that was not a chain, but it turned out the only other place that looked interesting was not serving half of their menu, and the other half seemed to only have several different versions of fried pork, and for a price that was $2-3 higher than I was willing to spend on lunch.

Another task I set for today was to find Russ a birthday present and card. The other day, while we were in Montclair, he saw a nice blue charcoal grill on display at the hardware store, and said, "I want that grill!" I know how to take a hint. :) Before I left this morning, I did do some research on the grill, and found it on for $20 less than the hardware store's price. With that information, I was able to bargain a little with the store owner, and he agreed to sell it to me for the same price as well not exactly the same price, since I could have avoided about $7 in tax if I'd ordered online. But I don't mind supporting a local business if they are willing to budge on price for me. :)

On my way back to the Land of Blue Spaghetti, I also made sure to stop at the pretty park in Montclair that has the pond with the fountain of water in the center of it. There are a few small islands in the center of the pond, and it seems that at least one of them is inhabited by several cardboard wolves. Good thing they were on the island, otherwise I would have been scared, and run away screaming like a girl.

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