Changes and challenges

The last six months have been . . . interesting. The school our two girls attend has been going through administration changes recently. The changes thus far have not been successful. Also, as they get older, it seems they are taught in ways and information that we are not happy with. So, we are once again embarking on a journey of homeschooling. We started homeschooling initially then I returned to work. Now, whether I work from home or full time outside the home, homeschooling is possible. I’m spending a lot of spare time researching and reading. Our oldest will be a junior in high school next year and has had a completely miserable year this year. I’m feeling a little intimidated.

As with most of the United States, this Spring has been cold and wet. We just got the new garden plot in the bottom field tilled for the last time last night. It stays wetter down there and that does not make tilling easy or successful. I started putting in corn anyway. We have several rows of corn that are about 6 inches tall mixed in with a bunch of weeds. The first tilling seemed to just stir them up and make them grow faster. The top garden looks much better. Between it being established and drier, we’ve had plants in there since Good Friday. Everything is a little on the small side from the lack of warm nights and sunshine but otherwise, it’s off to a good start.

We have added to our menagerie of animals. The feed store had guinea fowl one day when we were there. The guy said they could be housed with our chickens so we chunked down $7 and bought one. Well, I get home and start reading and discover that 1) they are much bigger than chickens, 2) they tend to pick on chickens, and 3) they form strong bonds with each other. So, I go back the next day and buy two more. Unfortunately, one died but the other two are getting big and make the neatest sounds. They are supposed to be great at eating ticks. We have a terrible time with ticks. From the sounds they are now making, I think one is a male and one a female. Their call is really the only way to tell them apart.

As I do every year about this time, I promise myself next Spring will be more peaceful. But, again, we’ve been running from here and yonder for shooting matches, amateur radio events, school events, and camping. We have a big camping trip planned in the future. I feel like once that is past, things will calm down. Then I remember we have a big Glock match right after it. Ugh! Calgon, take me away!

Gun Control

I know by now you’ve heard Feinstein has introduced control measures. Contact your Congressman/woman and tell them to vote against gun control. If the laws on the books already don’t stop these rare incidences, why would more work?

Find Your Congressman

Lifestyle Contraction

I happended upon an article entitled Lifestyle Contraction that sums up very well what being prepared means to me. Even prior to losing my job in 2010, stocking up on the bare essentials was more for a local, personal event than a widespread catastrophe. A lot of the decision to stock up initially came from the fact that during many local weather events, our little rural town has been left without power and/or water for days, as much as 10 days. These have been relatively minor events, nothing like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.

In late 2009, when I got word the company I was working for would be closing June 30, 2010, our stocking up really increased. I was realistic about what the economy was like (I thought). I still never dreamed it would take nine months to find a position making $12,000 less a year than what I had been making. The salaries had contracted much more than I expected. We had survived with minimal impact on our lifestyle because we were prepared for the personal event — our lifestyle contraction was minimal. This time, the impact will probably be more pronounced as the lower salary has made it difficult to rebuild our stores both in money and food. That makes it harder psychologically as well. I have a dimmer outlook on my prospects for a job and am facing the search with a smaller cushion.

Introspection

As I look to the possibility of being unemployed for the second time in two years, I am wondering if I might be happy again working for myself or maybe in a different line of work. Two years ago, I had never applied for a position that I wasn’t subsequently offered. I had never been let go. Then the company I was working for closed. Now the company I work for is looking to close the division I manage. It took me nine months to find this position. One position I applied for had 256 other applicants.

As I look toward change, I’ve been contemplating what I might like to do. From 1998 to 2002, I worked for myself from home, owning an online specialty boutique. It was something I was passionate about and I loved the experience. At the end, it was time to move on. I sold the site and when back to work as a legal assistant. Now, as I assess what I’m passionate about or could see myself involved in on a daily basis, the list is eclectic and doesn’t seem to have a profitable side. I’d love to hear what y’all think. Here’s my list:

  • Shooting – especially competitive pistol, some rifle – I also hunt deer
  • knitting – especially with handspun and natural wools. Alpaca rocks.
  • gardening
  • I enjoy building websites for pleasure, I haven’t been able to make the leap to “for pay”. It removes a lot of the joy and becomes tedious
  • I love working on cars and trucks
  • RVing (what we do really isn’t camping. Our motorhome is nicer than our house.)
  • Raising my girls – this is where the passion for my business in 1998 came from.
  • Reading
  • I used to love the write and have written articles and given presentations on different topics
  • I love maps – it’s hard to describe but I understand tax maps, aerials, etc. It’s something I have a knack for.
  • Computers and other consumer electronics – although, I have to be honest, the more I have to deal with computers and people, the more I hate both
  • I love to cook and bake – especially gluten-free (since I can’t have it)

I have no college (which is becoming increasingly required for everything down to a front desk receptionist). I’m not great at accounting. I’m great at transcription and typing.

Any ideas on jobs for a 40 something mom with eclectic hobbies.

I know it’s been a while since I posted. Life’s been crazy. Right now, I swear our animals are going nuts. Our hens are taking forever to molt and thus not laying. Our cats seem to be getting fussy with each other as they get older. We’ve never had a problem but I’ve noticed more and more that they are batting at each other while eating, etc. One of our dogs is not happy with her place in the family and keeps attempting to assert dominance. Despite it not working well for her, she keeps trying. There are days when I want to throttle them all. We want rabbits but right now — NO!

School is wrapping up for the semester so homework is down to a minimum. A lot of our shooting has wrapped up for the year and some of it won’t get started again until March. We will spend the next three months reloading day and night. I think the best part of the whole year of shooting was attending the United States Army Marksmanship Unit Junior Shooter Camp in October. We all had a great time. It feels very much like we are winding down for winter to renew again come spring.

Professionally, I feel stagnant. Eighteen months ago, the company I worked for closed. I stayed on with my boss as his personal assistant until he bought in to a new company and I became the company’s executive assistant. I took over management of one department. That seems like a step in the right direction but the salary was a huge cut and the job is two hours away. I telecommute three to four days a week and drive to the office one or two days a week. Four hours a day on the road is wasteful. There’s so much I can do while not driving. Also, now the department I took over is being eliminated. Thus, it looks like my position will be as well. As of now, we haven’t been able to work me in anywhere else. Many of the other positions would require more time in the office. I won’t move. It looks like my boss, whom I’ve now been with several years, may opt out of the company with me and find something else for us to do. While the business is successful, it’s not quite what we expected and, he lives near me. So, he’s driving up several days a week. His wife isn’t keen on moving either. So, for the second time in two years, he and I may be job hunting. I actually would enjoy it a lot if the pay were better. I have huge portfolios of research on different companies we looked in to investing in last year. I love research. That’s my strongest ability. But, in this economy, starting over again so soon is scary. With the pay reduction last time, I’m still working on balancing our budget.

On the personal side, things are fantastic. My girls are growing in to strong, independent women. My husband and I are getting closer than ever. Along with our shooting, Ham radio, etc., we’ve taken up bike riding and bought each other some nice Trek bicycles for Christmas. We want to spend time together. Also, he’s been extremely supportive through all the changes in our lives over the last two years. He’d love for me to work for myself again. He’s encouraged it so much. However, I just can’t find my calling. In the past when I’ve done it, I’ve felt very strongly toward something and grown it into a successful venture. This time, I’m not feeling it for anything. I love big trucks. Maybe I’ll get my CDL and become an owner/operator.

Anyway, as usual, I’m managing chaos on a daily basis. Each day as everyone talks about what they want for Christmas, I was the hardest thing of all, peace in my life.

It’s raining!!!

The girls are trying to get home from vacation Bible School in the golfcart and for the first time in weeks it’s raining.  It’s raining a lot.  With our luck, it’ll end as soon as they get home. We need feet of rain.  Everything is dead or close to it.  My 15 year old Crepe Myrtle are turning yellow and dropping their leaves.

Field Day 2012

Field Day 2012 is in the books.  Our club didn’t make as many contacts as last year.  We just weren’t getting out like we would  have  liked.  However, right near the end on Sunday, my youngest daughter started calling CQ and had them pile up on her.  My older daughter took over and worked a huge pile up for the last hslf hour.  She made 35 contacts in that half hour. Overall with CW, PSK31, and phone contacts, we had over 400 contacts. That doesn’t include the GOTA station.  The newspaper came out. I need to remember to buy this week’s paper.  How did your club do?

Lost four chicks

Something killed four of our chicks.  We suspect it was one of our dogs but we just don’t know.  All of the flock has been penned up for a while. We also have several hens laying where ever they please so we are trying to remind them where to lay.

I passed!!

I passed my Extra exam today!!

Updates

In the couple of weeks (or more) since I posted, a lot has happened. I have a job!!! Unfortunately, it is in a town 2 hours from home. Once I am trained, I will be telecommuting most of the time. However, right now, I spend 4 days a week driving up and back. :(

We bought a motorhome. It is a Safari Serengeti. We love it. We got it for the price we wanted. It needed some TLC and that was the main reason for our price. We’ve replaced a roof vent, cabinet latches, repaired a couple of plumbing leaks and are in the process of replacing the AC covers to prevent a couple of roof leaks. Idealy, it needs to sleep a couple of more but with air mattresses and/or a tent, it works.

We have chicks, as I think I mentioned. They are growing fast and absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, two issues are problematic with the rest of the hens. First, two more have gone broody, one a Rhode Island Red which aren’t supposed to be broody at all. Second, some of our eggs are tasking less than satisfactory. We can’t figure out what they are eating. I have heard it could be a hen is “bad” but since it happens in different egg colors, at different proportions of eggs laid each week, it has to be something they are eating. WHAT?!?

DD#1 didn’t make the high school dance team and DD#2 read more than anyone is the school this year — over 8 million words.

I take my Extra test tomorrow. Wish me luck, the practice tests are kicking my ass half the time. It’s been many, many years since I’ve needed to memorize algorithms.

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