February 16, 2009

First time ever

For the first time ever in the entire time that I have been in the US, I have Presidents Day off. This is part of the cost-cutting measures at work. Everyone is required to take mandatory days off to reduce the vacation hours on the books. Can't say it's all that bad since I have over 5 weeks of vacation, but still... it's an ominous sign.

In other consumer news, if anyone is thinking of buying a new American car, it is highly advisable to buy the extended warranty. Our van is sitting in the shop right now with problems in the airbag sensor, automatic door opener motor and track, and leak in the rack-and-pinion assembly. Total cost of repairs: $2,300. Cost with warranty: $100. Cost of the warranty at purchase: $1,600. So does the math work out? You bet it does. And Detroit still claims they make decent, solid vehicles. There's still about 35k miles of warranty left. Let's see what goes next.

Priya's turn to be the "helper"

The dapper boy

Visit to the Chicago Art Institute Museum - the Monet's are always breathtaking

February 06, 2009

Waiting for the thaw

We are waiting for the weather to warm up. Like last year, winter has been bitterly cold with weeks of sub-freezing temperatures, and many feet of snow. If this is a trend, then it's going the wrong way!

Things at work are a little slow. But that's the economy as a whole. We've had some layoffs, but nothing substantial. We're all waiting for Obama to work his magic! :-)

Kids at Fun-Flatables

February 03, 2009

Start of a new season

For the followers of this blog who come solely for pictures of the kids - sorry! Nothing this time. This is a follow-up to the post I had made back at the end of 2007 about my commuting situation. For over a year, things worked out fine. We had four people in our van, and that's the minimum you need to keep the vanpool together. Except, one person was laid off yesterday.

There was a brief moment of panic as my head went in a tizzy thinking what I was going to do. Being in a vanpool and sharing the drive is the only way a 130 mile commute is even possible. Okay.. I'm taking a minute to just think about that number for a second. Crazy! Alright, I can't dwell on that... So anyway, as I was saying, I started panicking. Then I got another indication that the Lord has me in the exact right place.

There is another van that goes from the area, but was full. It "somehow" happened that the van got open seats last month, and I was able to get on that one. Hmm.. the skeptics among you can mark that in the "coincidence" column. I prefer to see the working of the Unseen Hand of the Maker (Rom 8:28). Now here's to the good part...

In the vanpool that just folded, there were only two drivers - the person that got fired and me. So that means 2.5 days of driving per week. However, with my traveling and with the other person taking weeks off at a time (for various reasons), it usually meant one person was driving the entire week. Not good for anyone's physical or mental health. In the new van, there are already three drivers, and with me as the fourth, everyone's load gets lightened.

The single challenge that I will have is joining in a group that has been driving together for 5+ years. The group dynamics are set, and constant. Now there's a new person in the mix. My effort will be to keep my head low, and try not to cause stirs. I just hope they don't mind listening to NPR when I drive.

Did I mention that it's me. And five women.