Did you think I must have been deep in an underground bunker for the last two weeks? I don't think I've ever gone for 12 days without posting...ever. Did I take a break for the 12 days of Christmas? I suppose I could use that as an excuse. No. That's not the reason at all. It's much more exciting, or boring, depending on your perspective.
My last posting was on Dec. 13. After that we went to San Diego for a long weekend. I had to work in Riverside and San Diego, and also drop the grand kids off at San Diego sister's house for the week. I was planning on picking up my new little tilapia fish too. I sent an email to Tilapiamama and she said that she didn't have any fingerlings ready. I called the pet store down there that she supplies fish to hoping that they'd have some. They didn't. Both said they'd have some in a couple of weeks. That doesn't do me any good at all. I'm going down to LA in the middle of January; I may have to make the trip down to San Diego at that time if they have some fish available. Otherwise, I don't know when I'll be heading back down to San Diego.
I left the grand kids down there because I started my new job on the 17th. I haven't finished my old job yet. That doesn't happen for another week. This week I worked an 80 hour week, plus more that I will write about in a few more paragraphs. My new job is 1 1 /2 hours from home. I leave at 5:30 in the morning and return at 7:00 at night. I've never been away from home each day for work for any type of extended period unless I was on an emergency incident. Now it's going to be this way for four days each week. Since I was out of town the weekend before I started I didn't have any preplanned meals for my first week at work. I stupidly figured that I could quickly make something up for me since the kids were away. I was wrong. Instead I hardly ate.
Day one - living at 400 feet elevation we get fog, rain, and sunshine during the winter. It's pretty much spread out equally between fog and sunshine. My new job is over a mile high. This means snow, ice, and sunshine, plus the fog until I make it up the hill a bit. I've driven in ice and snow before. We took a trip to Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas during winter vacation a few years ago. But I didn't drive on ice and snow on windy roads in the dark. My ice and snow driving was during the day on pretty straight roads. I learned that I don't know how to drive on ice and snow! On day 1 I left at 5:30, drove up the hill, then hit the snowplow cleared roads. Fortunately for me, there were very few cars on the road (there's usually a train of about 50 cars heading to my office, I've been told) and those who were on the road were really pissed that I was driving so slow. I didn't know the road, the curves, the turnouts, the uphills and downhills. I drove slow. I pulled off to the side as often as possible. I got honked at, bright lighted, but not run off the road. I made it to work on time. While at work, my first day on the job, the discussion turned to chains. I didn't own any. I have 4 wheel drive in my truck. They told me that when the chain sign is lit you have to carry chains or you can get a ticket. It doesn't mean to have to use them but they have to be in the truck. So Monday night I drove back to the city before I went home and picked up a set of Z cables. Got home, didn't eat dinner, just went to bed.
Day two of the new job - Left at 5:30. Drove up the hill. It was snowing. As I was on the flats at the top of the mountain I thought perhaps I should put my chains on. Problem was, I didn't know how. I was too tired the night before to even open the container. I turned off the highway to the seven miles of up hill, down hill road to get to the job. After driving a mile I realized that I was GOING TO DIE! The road was icy. I didn't have a clue how to drive it. I pulled over a mile into this last 7 mile drive and called my new boss. I'm going to be late. I pulled over on the side of the road. I have to wait for who knows how long until I get my wits about me and put on the chains, which I have no clue how. The boss said he was sending people out to meet me. About 30 minutes later two of my office mates showed up. By that time it was light outside. One said he'd ride with me in my truck. Either he would drive or I could. I decided that I would drive if he would talk me through HOW to drive. So he did. At the end of the day another coworker had me drive to the big shed. There I learned how to put chains on the truck. It was actually easy once I got them all untangled. I kept the chains on for the seven miles then took them off once I got to the flats of the mountain top. That night I bought new tires for the truck. Didn't get home until almost 10:00.
Day three - drove to the job. Only shrieked out loud two or three times as I was driving the last 7 miles. The way home, no problem. Stopped for someone else's accident to see if they needed any assistance. Felt kind of good to see someone else crashed due to ice and snow and NOT ME! They were OK. Waived to the store as I drove by GI Jim's. Someday I'll get to stop by there and buy some more items on my list. Got home at 7:00. Turned on the computer for my other job. Worked until 10:00. I've also been working the other job during my breaks and lunch. Two full time jobs is too much. I'm glad the grand kids aren't home during their three week school vacation.
Day four - piece of cake. I still don't know what I'm doing on the job but the drive was good. No shrieking at all. Got home and cleaned the house. Then worked the old job. Then picked up San Diego brother-in-law (BIL) from the airport. Sister is bringing the kids back tomorrow late afternoon. BIL is going to work at the bug-out place doing insulation and drywalling.
Friday. Off. I'd like to sleep but I couldn't. Had to go to the old job. I drove the work truck to turn it in. BIL drove my truck to the office to pick me up. Then we headed for Home Depot but on the way he said I just lost a belt. What? Then the warning lights on the truck all went on. Then the water temperature went up! We got to Home Depot, then walked to the auto parts to buy a new belt and pulley. Then bought everything we needed for the bug-out place. BIL then worked on the truck and I walked to the car rental place. You see, on Friday I needed to bring the truck to the body shop to fix the damage from when it was hit the week before. Got an all-wheel drive SUV then back to Home Depot right when BIL finished replacing the pulley and belt. I had some of the necessary tools for the repair. Fortunately we were at Home Depot and he bought some additional tools. Dropped the rental vehicle at the body shop, went to the bug-out place and started with the dry wall installation. We were able to get across the creek. Got to see Girl and Boy since they were in San Diego all week with their cousin. Went back to town in the late afternoon to get the truck to the body shop before they closed. Picked up the rental from the body shop and drove home with about 15 minutes to spare before sister and kids got to the house. Friday night we headed back to town to pick up more insulation, dry wall, lights, wiring, and other stuff. Headed back to the bug-out place, crossed the creek. Unloaded it all, crossed the creek again and went home. Got everyone to bed around 11:00.
Saturday. I had to work...remember 2 40-hour jobs? I got up early. BIL went to the bug-out place. The rest of us stayed home until the late afternoon. We made another trip to Home Depot then back up to the bug-out place. Grand kids wanted to hang out with me... Next weekend you'll get to see me lots! Promise. BIL stayed at the bug-out place overnight. The rest of us got back to the house around 8:30.
Sunday. Headed back to the bug-out place. A lot of work has been accomplished. I left everyone there since sister's truck was still out there. You couldn't cross the creek with vehicles due to all the rain but they were parked on the correct side of the creek. Daughter-in-law wasn't. Her car was stuck on the wrong side of the creek and she had to get to work. Lucky me. I drove her to work, then went to the auto parts store to pick up chains for the rental car. Remember, no chains equals big fine... I dropped Boy and Girl off with oldest daughter. Then I went home and went to bed. Sister, BIL and their boy got home around 9:00 at night. I pretended to be asleep, otherwise I would have stayed up until all hours visiting since they were leaving on Monday. No, I needed sleep.
Monday. Worked up the hill. Great drive. I think I like driving the SUV rather than the truck on these roads. Feels like I have a little more control. Or perhaps I'm just getting used to the drive. I just don't know. At 10:30 in the morning the boss walked in and said to go home early for the holiday. OK. I left, drove down the hill and went to the other job. I worked there until 5 then went to oldest daughter's house to pick up the grand kids. I've missed them.
Today, it's Christmas. Brought grand kids and daughter-in-law to the bug-out place. Planted asparagus seeds along the property line at the bug-out place. Brought other grand kids back to their house in town. With school vacation it's been musical cousins around here. I don't know if anyone has been at their own house for more than a few days. Me, I went to work at the old job this afternoon. Got off at 5.
Working two jobs for two weeks is difficult but a blessing as well. I was able to buy the materials for the bug-out place. I was able to get the truck repaired (OK BIL did it), well I paid for the parts! BIL said the ball joints sounded like they were going out on the truck. When it comes back from the body shop I will have the money to repair it. And, there's enough left over to take the kids out next weekend. I told them that they could each pick something fun to do and we would do it.
The old job ends next week. The new job will not be as enjoyable as the old job, that's for sure. But, I will not have to work evenings or Fridays or weekends with the new job. I won't be dragging my computer home with me or on vacation or anything. That and the boost in pay will make it all worth it. But it was a challenging first week. I didn't know that I didn't know how to drive in ice and snow. I'm certainly no expert yet, but I'm sure I will be by the end of the winter. There's enough open space by my new office that I can drive too fast and spin the car, just to practice getting it under control. After not seeing my home during daylight hours for a week, when I finally did see it all in the light of day I found a dead chicken and two dead ducks. They ran out of water in their pools so the ducks died from not being able to swish the dirt and grain out of their nose and mouth, and the rooster died when he climbed onto the sheep's water trough and fell in. More lessons learned.
I will not have time to blog Monday through Thursday in most cases. Perhaps if I have a slow period during the day I can write something up but probably not for a while. I need to get more organized. I need to not plan on doing much of anything away from home on the weekends until we get that organization. I need to make lists of what I do want to accomplish during my days off. Something that seems so minor as a change in jobs sure has thrown our lives into a bit of chaos. Glad the world didn't end on the 21st! Or perhaps it would have been good if it did. Then I'd be able to stay home...or at the bug-out place which is now well insulated and has new wiring! Hope you all had a great Christmas.