Job Offer

Posted in General with tags on Jun 13 2011 by Cynical Queer

Today I received a job offer.  Pending a positive background check and a negative drug screening, I’ll start next week.

It will be nice to be doing something again after spending the past year and a half in school.


Son of Crapshack – bathroom remodel

Posted in General with tags , on Jun 10 2011 by Cynical Queer

Yes, I’m working on yet another house.  I’ve named this one Son of Crapshack because it is about 20-years newer than the crapshack was.

When my grandfather died recently, my mother inherited the house.  The same house she’s been living in for 30 years, but it’s hers now.  My grandfather was rather miserly when it came to spending money on the house, so nothing has been remodeled since 1972 other than the flooring downstairs that was replaced about 25 years ago because the dishwasher decided to do its best impression of Old Faithful.

This means my mother is now the proud owner of a rather dated, run-down, home.  She has decided to start by remodeling the master bedroom to make it her own since this was grandpa’s room until recently.  First up – remodeling the bath.

We tore out the 1972 vintage fixtures and tossed them out the window.  Really, who wants this fiberglass and odd colored stuff?  I can’t tell if the color of all these old fixtures are peach, salmon, or barf.  I tend to go with the last one because that’s what I wanted to do any time I saw them (update: The color was called Mexican Sand, I saw it on the back of a piece of the cut-up fiberglass shower).

So far all the old stuff is out, the new counter is in (granite) and I’ve spent all day wiring for some luxury vent fan my mother wants to install that has a heater in it.  I spent 3 hours under the house today running new wiring, and my body *really* feels it.

Since this is another crapshack it should be obvious that I found additional problems under the house in the crawlspace, namely the washing machine drain line which is leaking, and appears to have been leaking for some time since I spent part of my day swimming in Lake Crapshack.  Something that would have been nice to have avoided since I was simultaneously working on the electrical system.

I’m happy to report that I did not end up with frizzy hair.

Since the leak has been present for a period of between two weeks and 10-years, and the foundation has not settled, I’ll opt to do this repair for her after we’re done with her bathroom and bedroom.

She also had granite put in her half-bath in the utility room, and it looks great.  She could probably have that half-bath completely remodeled in a week if she just cleans it up a bit and paints.  It’s pretty much a “Do in place” job that only requires that and no tearing out of cabinets or showers.

So for now I’ll simply report the saga of CQ and home remodeling has spun off a sequel.  Stay tuned for more remodeling tales.

I have voted in my first national referendum!

Posted in General with tags , on Jun 01 2011 by Cynical Queer

If obtaining the passport didn’t tell me I actually had citizenship, voting certainly does the trick.

I voted yes on each question.  Just as in elections here in the US, sometimes yes actually means no.

The question about nuclear power was incredibly confusing, and after translating it, then translating the translation, I still didn’t understand it.  I had to do a lot of research about the referendum to figure out how to vote against nuclear power.  If there had been an option for hell no (or in this case, hell yes) I would have marked that on my ballot.  The country is much too seismically active for me to even consider saying yes to nuclear power, among other reasons.

There was also a question about if the Prime Minister needs to show up in court if the court calls.  Apparently the current prime ministers partisans have passed a law that the constitutional court said shouldn’t have been passed letting a sitting minister NOT have to attend court proceedings if they are the subject of the investigation or trial.  Put another way, for the time the minister is in office, they are essentially above the law, and don’t have to answer to the court system.

Personally in a democratic/free/parliamentary society I think they should be accountable to the law just as everyone else is.

The other two issues were about water utilities and how to recover expenses due to construction and maintenance costs.  Rather boring compared to the two bigger items.

Now lets see if the votes count.  There is a voter quorum requirement of 50% + 1, and if voter turnout for this thing isn’t at least that, then all the referendums fail.

Referendum 2011

Posted in General with tags , on May 28 2011 by Cynical Queer

My first official election as a new citizen

I’m excited.

Out of the blue I received in the mail a ballot for my first official election as a citizen of my ancestral boot-shaped country.  The options are “Si” and “No” so the ballot is binary, each issue has been given it’s own ballot paper, and the election is apparently in June.  At this point I don’t know what the issues are as I need to translate the ballots, then research them so I can make an informed vote.

I wonder if this feeling I’m getting seeing this is similar to what newly minted US citizens feel when they get to vote for the first time?

Is it May or is it March?

Posted in General with tags , , on May 18 2011 by Cynical Queer

I’m having trouble figuring out if it is May or March.  With the temperatures below 60 F the past 3-4 days (that’s the high folks), all the rain at the house and the snow in the mountains, and general gloominess I see when I look out the window, it’s no wonder I’m confused.

And to think, the day before this weather started I had finally gotten the pool up to a nice comfortable temperature after putting the solar cover on it for two-weeks.  All that is now for nothing, not that I’d be getting into the pool at this air temperature.  *ugh*

The good news is I’m off to Palm Springs this weekend, where it’s expected to be a  perfect 85 F the entire time I’m there.

Bureaucracy – Nursing Edition

Posted in General with tags , on May 13 2011 by Cynical Queer

One of the things I’ve found happening now that I have a nursing license is that you get to deal with a huge amount of bureaucracy.  This time it has come in the form of trying to get my IV therapy and blood drawing certificate attached to my license.  While I can work without this certification, having it will make finding a job easier as most employers want you to have this certification.

Last week I received a call from the nursing board asking me all sorts of questions about how much time we spent in class, how long were our lunch breaks, etc.  What I found odd was that I was *not* being questioned about the course content itself.  I would think it more important that I learned what I am supposed to be doing instead of having the nursing board go over the time spent learning it with a fine toothed comb.

Since it takes a nuclear half-life for the nursing board to do anything, it had been several months since I took the course.  Put another way, I needed to find my notes and research the answers to his questions at the level of detail he was asking his questions, and I couldn’t provide them while he was on the phone.  The result: my certification was postponed because I couldn’t give him all the answers right off the top of my head.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I finally got all my notes together and called him, and he returned my call this morning.  He asked me the same questions again, and this time I was prepared and passed his “test” with flying colors.  He told me he is going to post the certification to my license and it should show up in the online verification system this weekend, or Monday night at the latest.

I must say I’m relieved.  This will help me get a much better job than I could otherwise obtain.

What had me concerned is this guy was certifying other students that took the same course, at the same time, I did.  I was lining up my plan of action which was going to be first talking to him like I did, then bringing up the obvious that you can’t apply the law unevenly by letting some of my classmates be certified when I was there the same amount of time they were, then taking it to his supervisor, and if that didn’t work getting my state representative involved since the law wasn’t being applied evenly.

Fortunately I will not have to do anything more than the first step, but I was preparing just in case.

I need to get accustomed to bureaucracy though, nurses have to put up with a lot of it.  I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a lot of “just in case” type of preparations.

Where does the time go?

Posted in General with tags , on May 10 2011 by Cynical Queer

Wow,  13 days since I made a blog entry.  It must be because I recently joined Facebook and have been doing most of this kind of thing over there.

Given the two recent deaths in my family I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking.  I’m 40-years old now, and while that isn’t nearly dead by far, I also realize there are a lot of people out there now that would look at me and think I’m the crypt keeper.  OK, just using that reference makes me sound old now.

Being this age with the recent happenings also gives me a chance to see just how much I’ve done in my life.  Most of my fellow Americans will NEVER leave the United States.  Ever.  Not even for a quick out and back over the Canadian or Mexican borders.  My brothers are among these people (so far).  My grandfather was 94 years old and he spent a week in Canada, back in 1950-something.  My mother went to Mexico for a few hours on the cruise she went on two months ago, but she has also been to Canada and the Bahamas. The point I’m making here is that my immediate family rarely goes anywhere, and if they do it’s next door.

I, on the other hand, have in the past 15-years been to Mexico, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, and Swaziland.  I’ve also been to nearly every US state.  I’ve been on nearly opposite sides of the planet during my two most far-flung trips.  Those would be Seattle, Washington US and Swaziland.  I believe the opposite side from Swaziland is out in the Gulf of Alaska, so I’ve been about as close as one can get and still be on land to opposite sides.

Outside of travel, I’ve also met or attended an audience with some interesting and influential people.  I do not claim to know or even be friends with them, but among them are the Chairman of the American Red Cross, a US Ambassador to a European country, two Secretary Generals of the UN, 3 Speakers of the US House of Representatives, a US Supreme Court Justice, a Former US Secretary of State, 3 US Senators, 2 US Representatives (non House Speaker).

I’ve seen Nelson Mandela’s prison cell in South Africa, I’ve been to a concentration camp in Germany, I’ve sat at North Korea’s seat in the General Assembly of the UN in New York (probably one of only a handful of American’s that has had permission to do so), I’ve seen the office of the US Secretary of Defense, the door to the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, seen our US democracy in action in the Supreme Court, galleries of the Senate and House of Representatives, and been inside the White House.

All-in-all quite a list.

This is going to sound like I’m whining… Why do I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing?

I’m sure this is temporary.

Better things to come soon, I’m sure.