This feels like a maintenance post. No great weight sits upon my shoulders. No meaty social issues currently constrain my thoughts. No horrible demons lurk just behind my eyes demanding attention. I figure all in all I've been doing a fairly good job of tending my baobobs, and that's meant fewer emotional collapses and less drama all around, which is pretty much a good thing.
To be sure, there have been a few issues that hover around the fringes of my perception. My internal network at home is intermittently dying for no apparant reason, and it has since the power failure last week that took down the server for a few hours. I suspect that in the power loss-return-loss cycle, one of the hubs got damaged. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it's a nuisance I'd rather not have to face right now. The sociopolitical environment outside the Lapinian Consulate remains tense and unwelcoming, but it's always tense and unwelcoming even when it's warn and inviting. This is merely the way of rabbits, and I'm adapting and accepting over time. I doubt the world will change enough in my lifetime to ever make me want to participate in society in any way other than the bare minima required to sustain myself and my family financially, but stepping outside my door doesn't actively invite death either from other people or my own head. My weight isn't where I want it to be, but I've taken a few baby steps in the direction of dealing with it and the feedback I've gotten has been mostly positive. It's going to take a while, but I hope these things will sort themselves out in time with a bit more effort.
I think the one big issue currently weighing on my mind is the trip I have upcoming. Three weeks ago, I flew down to Atlanta for team meetings and group training. Now they're flying me to Seattle for a week for more meetings with a different team on a new project for which I've "volunteered". To be sure, I wanted to be involved, but not so centrally. This project has the feel of "make-or-break" on it. It's something the business wants very much but that the support staff thinks in general is not a good idea, so if we can make it work, it'll be a big boost, but
when if we have to cancel it, it could look ugly. I doubt I'd lose my job over it if it went poorly, but I'm lapine enough never to trust raw assurances.
This whole "business travel" thing still has me mystified, tired and a little tittilated. I've always loved to travel, and I know I've commented before on this fact, but I also know I've mentioned that the heyday of business travel is behind us. At least, it seems like it. At my level, I fly coach, I'm on the cheapest fares and the least convenient times, and I have to carry my own suitcase. I spend long hours away from home, but I know it's because I'm important enough to the company that they're willing to spend money on sending me places. I love living out of a hotel, but eating out all the time gets tiresome and sometimes I just want to cook a comforting meal. I love to go and see new places, but I always look forward most to coming home.
If anybody in Seattle over the next week wants to try to arrange a time to meet, email me and I'll send you my PCS number. I'll be staying at the Silver Cloud Eastgate, 14632 Southeast Eastgate Way, Bellevue, WA 98007. I won't have a car, but I should have my evenings to myself unless my manager decides to keep me chained.
I'm refinancing my house again, the second time in a year. The first time it was to consolidate debt and I was damn glad for the chance to do that, but my credit score was pretty low thanks to The Bad and my job situation was brand new and still a little shaky, so I got a pretty poor interest rate on a 3/27 Fixed-to-ARM. If none of that bit makes any sense, don't worry. It didn't to me at first either. Mortgages typically come in two main types, depending on whether the interest rate can change over time or not. If it can, it's adjustable. If it can't, it's fixed. Fixed interest rates typically save people money in the long run, but they're usually reserved for people who have great credit or who can afford to pay a large amount up front on a house. Adjustable-rate mortgages change with the prime lending rate set by the Federal Reserve, so every time you hear Ben Bernanke talk about raising interest rates, all those people who have an adjustable-rate mortgage pay a little more out of pocket on their houses. They tend to be more expensive in the long run, but anyone can get them. The fixed-to-ARM program is a hybrid of these ideas, giving the borrower a short window during which the interest rate will remain steady regardless of what the market does. Then, at the end of that window, the interest rate on the mortgage jumps to what it would have been had it been tracking the Fed's rate changes all the way along and becomes adjustable from there. It's great if you expect to refinance your house again in a short amount of time, or if you plan on selling the property within the fixed-rate time period.
This may actually happen for Jessie and I.
This is where the rest of my job weirdness enters into the playing field. My department doesn't really have any need for any more team leads right now. We've got a team lead, and he does a damned fine job as a team lead, but he's also not fully employed as a team lead because he's still having to serve as a principal support analyst on a lot of issues. He's an Analyst IV. I'm an Analyst III. Until the IV is fully working as an IV, there's no need for any more IVs on the team. This means that there's no room for promotion in my current department. If I want to advance faster than the cost-of-living adjustments, I have to leave my current department, or my current company. Assuming for the moment that I want to stay with T-Mobile—because I do—that means having to switch to another group. However, to do that I'm going to have to move. There are no other groups in my current facility, because my facility is a warehouse, not a corporate office. The only things open to me here are management jobs I don't want, and production jobs paying half or less my current salary.
T-Mobile's corporate offices are in Tampa, Atlanta and Seattle. Anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line is right out, if only for the weather, to say nothing of the political culture. This means that if I want to get anywhere in my company any time soon, I'm going to have to relocate to the Left Coast. This isn't an immediate thing, and it's obviously not a guaranteed thing, but to borrow from the Torino Scale, the likelihood of moving is somewhere around a five. It's not certain, but it's non-zero, and the most likely alternate scenario involves changing jobs, something I'm loath to do if I can avoid it. I've never worked at the same company longer than eighteen months, unless you count my stint as a teaching assistant at the University of North Texas, which was a year of three overlapping part-time jobs.
I figure the timescale on this is somewhere around the beginning of 2008 if it's going to happen, which should be coincidentally right around the point at which I've finished paying off my past debt. I like the significance of this. I like the cosmic unity. It means nothing, but it looks pretty, and that counts for a lot for me. I can choose to interpret it as symbolic if I wish, a new start in a new city and a new goal. In trying to find references to my past discussion on travel, I instead found the post wherein I discussed my desire to make a plan for the future, and putting down the last of my negative past feels like a good start to that. I'll be free of past burdens and ready to take on new challenges. I'll be able to face the future. From here, it looks like the kind of event that cries out for a commemorative print in Reconstructivist style, faces in a row along the bottom-right upturned towards rays of light from the top-left corner, wearing vapid two-tone smiles with a Cyrillic propaganda slogan beneath it.
In any case, this all started with a discussion of refinancing the house, and I'm going with a 3/27 because of the need to plan for the contingency of moving cross-country, but it also serves to pull down my interest rate another half-point beneath what I'd get if I went strictly with a fixed-rate mortgage. That means in the short run I'll be saving myself another thirty dollars a month, which amounts to a free box of Fudge Stripes for th' qiti every other day. Our Feline Mistresses must be appeased.
This will also mean I have more money to throw at the credit card, which might even advance the timeline by which we've paid off our back debt. That would break the nice little synchronicity above, but it would also save us some finance charges, and I'm unspiritual enough—or perhaps sufficiently capitalist—to destroy universal harmony to save a few bucks. It would also mean that if we move to Seattle, we do so with a nest egg and the chance to put some more money down on a house, or some more stock to start earning dividends, or a nest egg for emergencies. The less money we have to spend paying off the corporate masters, the more money we have to support ourselves and move towards self-sufficiency.
It's not that I enjoy being the ant; it's that I've been the grasshopper.