Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring, a time for new beginnings

He's signed the offer letter and faxed it in. Following a drug test tomorrow (which I'm positive will be clean ...), Darren will once again be employed, making more than at the company that laid him off and doing a job that he'll enjoy doing and will further his career. He even gets to start on June 1, which means he doesn't have to take any vacation days for our trip to Los Angeles around Memorial Day weekend, and he can continue to enjoy the benefits of severance pay. I'm so happy for him and am glad he found work at such an esteemed place.

The only thing is it's way up in Tewksbury, about an hourlong drive north of Dedham. Neither of us really wants to move, but I'm pretty sure Darren will get sick of the commute before long, and we'll start thinking about relocating somewhere between our two places of employment and still staying close to Boston. We were discussing possibly buying a house (it's a buyer's market!), but may hold off if money becomes an issue ...

Shout-out to my friend and former Standard-Times coworker Don, who has been working as a temp at a medical company in Dedham, just down the street from Darren and me! I hope he can secure a full-time gig there eventually. The other day, I was driving with Darren to our gym and passed by the building and saw a very familiar person walking across the street. "That must be my friend Don!" I told Darren. My instincts proved me right. It's hard to believe it's been almost two years since I worked at the New Bedford paper. That summer, with its excitement, new friends, sun-soaked beaches, and crazy Providence nights -- not to mention meeting Darren at the very tail end of it -- was one of the most memorable of my life. I find I count my memories in summers, and that was one of the best so far.

Of course, last summer, my first full summer with Darren and our first summer living together, was also memorable, but still too fresh in my mind to be something I pine and yearn for like that Standard-Times summer. Perhaps in another year, after this upcoming and surely equally excitement-filled summer ...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hands and feet are all alike

Friday at last. I'm beginning to love this day of the week more and more as my career advances ... not that I don't love my job! I'm sure a lot of you who do the Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 work routine can agree with me that Friday brings a sense of excitement, of freedom, of potential for what lies ahead for the weekend. Maybe that's why we always love to gather in our kitchen after work on Fridays and share a few beers and chips together: to kick things off right. Maybe in some way it serves as a good omen (albeit a forced one) for us of what the weekend holds in store.

For me, this weekend holds extra excitement, as my parents are making their first trip out to visit Darren and me. It's been nearly a year since they were last here to help move us in, and even that visit was fleeting and uneventful, at best, since our townhouse was yet unsettled and disorganized. We hadn't explored the area enough to be able to show them around and treat them to its finest entertainment and luxuries. Now we'll be putting them up at the Dedham Hilton, a luxury for sure! They're getting in tonight and taking us out to dinner after I get back from work. If they get here early enough, maybe they could come to work and meet the crew ...

Saturday, we'll spend the day in Boston. I'm hoping to get some good walking exercise as we show them Quincy Market/Fanueil Hall, possibly Haymarket and Boston Common, and definitely the North End. Ideally, we'll dine at the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in the country, where Darren and I ate once last summer. (Sidenote: I'm hoping we'll start going back to Haymarket every other week or so, since the weather is better and it's easier driving into the city and the produce will be fresher.) Sunday, though the weather report doesn't bode too well, I'm hoping we'll get over to Blue Hills to do some hiking, but not before I cook everyone up a fabulous Sunday breakfast to tide us over on the hike.

As for the job front, Darren's had loads of interviews this past week, and all have yielded some pretty promising results. It's fun to start planning what we'll do if he gets an offer from the various companies he's interviewed at, or to go over in our heads which one he should choose if he receives more than one offer. We've even started talking about buying a house and moving to an area closer to where he might be working, since some of the companies are pretty far from Dedham. We'd like to find someplace in between both our places of employment, and I've already started a house search online. I know: It may be creepy that I'm looking this stuff up so early in the game, but it's so exciting, I just can't help myself. Darren has one more interview next Wednesday, and by then, we're hoping the offers will begin coming in. It won't be long now!

As for me, my work hours have been cut slightly, but as far as I know, it won't affect my salary. Times are tough, so our lunch hour has been halved, but we're also closing a half-hour earlier. Because of this, I've been eating lunch with the "lunch crew" in the office. It's actually a lot of fun: I love the camaraderie and company of hanging out with the group. This change is flexible, however. If I want, I can now and then take a full hour for lunch and just stay at the office an extra half hour. As long as it all adds, up, it's all good. I feel pretty good about this new policy. It's nice to be able to leave at 5 p.m., and we all take about a half hour to eat together anyway, so I'm sure a lot of people haven't even really noticed the difference.