Feeling pretty cool

Okay, I had one of the best weekends yet. I got to do a lot of sleeping in with the hubby and that is no mean feat. 🙂 Three day weekends rock and I fear that my laziness may have cost me brownie points with the parents. Well, work starts tomorrow and with it, the sights & smells. Last Friday, I had the privilege of performing the interesting task of splitting embalmed dog heads along the longitudinal axis using the band saw. Everyone who works there is deathfully afraid of using that instrument, but being the laboratory coordinator, it’s part of my job to be unafraid of such tools. In a nutshell, I go where angels fear to tread. Thankfully, my supervisor stayed with me while I worked just in case I accidentally sawed something off and lost the ability to dial an emergency number. Tomorrow, I’ll be sawing through the rest of the heads (38 total) and wish  me luck!

In other news, M’s friend recently got a car and his old car would have been traded to the dealership, but it’s beginning to look like we might just get his old car instead. Of course, we’re paying for it and I don’t want to jinx the deal just yet. The car’s been pretty well cared for and I’m confident that we aren’t getting a lemon although the car has been to the mechanic’s quite a bit. Nevertheless, it’s a 4-door car and we’re both pretty psyched about it. Ordinarily, I’d like to work out a payment deal versus paying all that is due (price) upfront, but he needs the bulk of the money upfront so M’s dad is kindly loaning us some money to help with that. As for M’s current car (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme), we just might hang on to it because I’m kind of attached to it seeing as there is a lot of history there. 🙂 We’ve slept in the car, fought in it, yelled in it, done terrible *cough* things *cough* in it, et cetera. lol.

In yet other news, someone’s birthday is coming up. That’s right: Matt’s!! He’s turning 29 and I’ve decided to go lowkey for his birthday. I’m definitely taking him out to eat and I’ll tell y’all the rest after it’s happened. With that, cheers and a belated happy Hallo’ween!

A day of dogs.

As I’m lately wont to do, my day can be pretty much summed up in my title. As in, I worked with dogs today. 🙂 That’s not strictly true as I did do something pertaining to horses. Nevertheless, my immediate supervisor and I got to work together today. She’s very knowledgeable and I hope I don’t sound like a total moron in front of her. We received a batch of dissection dogs and what happens with these dogs is that they are essentially steeped in embalming solution which keeps them preserved. This embalming solution is really pungent and some students are even allergic to them so I/we had to rinse off the embalmed dogs (we started with 8) water and stored them in provided plastic bags. I anticipate finishing the task tomorrow (about 30 more dogs to go) along with help from a 2nd year student who will be my muscle arm. I tell you, these animals are heavy. I’m definitely going to have to put on a pound or two just so I can do my job. I already got semi-ordered to “put some meat” on by my immediate supervisor. I’m working on it. lol.

In the meantime, I’m still trying to see the best way to set up my office. I would definitely love for pictures of my family to be around although I won’t go too crazy. I need to take advantage of Georgia’s tax free week (beginning today) and stock up on school supplies i.e. calendar, organizers, etc. Matt has done well in his summer class and I know he will be able to handle the workload during the school year. Given his computer usage at home, I am convinced that he will need a laptop in order for him to get his work done. We can afford a laptop that is $800 and under. I would go out and get it for him right away if not for the fact that it will sort of be unplanned and hence will need to be put on the credit card. If I had a few more months, I could definitely save up for it. I’ll update on what we have decided later.

Money and the DMV

Only in my household is it not strange to remember that my permit expires in about 24 hours and then, I make frantic calls to the husband and my employers to: take me to the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and excused from work for about 1 hr. Thankfully, we managed to beat the hordes at the DMV and we got out of that place in less than 30 minutes. Score!! The sad part, however, is that I’ll have to rinse and repeat in less than a year all because USCIS has seen it fit to give me a “conditional” LPR status versus the old-days-of-yore 10-year limit on those green cards. I’m not too bothered by it though. Just the thought of needlessly spending $10 again to renew the card makes me a bit … itchy. Renewing my drivers’ permit is the least of my worries. Renewing my permanent resident card is the real hassle although I won’t have to worry about it until next year. Still, who would have thought 2008 is already half over? The USCIS filing fee already leaves a huge rock in my gut (~ $545), but I’ve already started saving towards it. Thank God for ING Direct‘s sub accounts! They actually make it easy for you to save! I have to restrain myself from pouring too much of my paycheck into my savings accounts 🙂 I’m sure I won’t be over-saving (if that is possible) because I’ve committed to contributing $200 to my Roth IRA account. It should not put too much of a dent in my earnings because on my previous salary, I could, in theory, fit in my $200 IRA payment so now that I am earning a little bit more, I can definitely fit in the Roth IRA payments. Saving for retirement (or just for savings sake) is definitely a priority with me as my posts on finances will tell you. However, I recently got M & I signed up for something that’s really confidential. lol. I’m itching to tell you guys about it, but  I promised I wouldn’t. No, it’s not something that’ll make me/us super-rich or bestow us with honorary degrees. It is something that I’ve been wanting to participate in (for a long while now) and I was getting to the point of thinking the organization was a total fraud. Well, I’m a believer and I’ll write more about this in a couple of years. lol.

In other news, classes for the students will begin in a little over 3 weeks. I spent the better part of yesterday with my boss whcanine scapulao showed me how to skin a dog’s forelimb. He is a veterinary toxicologist by training, but he clearly loves anatomy and he spent the rest of the time showing me the various muscles around the dog’s scapula and the canine equivalent of the human upper arm muscles.  I actually remember much of what was shown to me yesterday! I really find it interesting although time will tell if it’s just early employment jitters or the real thing. lol. I learned about the dog’s scapula last week i.e. the names of the parts (see on the left). I’m on the humerus now and hopefully, I’ll be done with that bone by this week or the middle of next week.

(Picture is from Guide to the Dissection of the Dog: 4th edition)

It’s definitely a little bit hard to remember all those names, but the good thing with nomenclature is that it tends to be logical and follow patterns whether it be directionality (dorsal vs. ventral) or positionally (above or below, supra or infra). I’ll let you know how that goes in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ve got a bunch of embalmed dogs to count up. These dogs will serve as the veterinary students’ dissection dogs to work with during the semester. It will be my job to see that they preserve their animals well and try to keep the laboratory clean. I should be getting scrubs this week and also get some T- shirts so that I don’t totally ruin my entire wardrobe. I think it’s safe to say that my favorite pairs of jeans (blue and black) have been ruined. lol. Well, not so much ruined as “they are not for fancy wearing” anymore. 🙂 They’ve got blood on them. Oops!

I’ve got a special job :)

Some might call it a “Dirty Job” :), but those who know me understand that I find it fascinating. I see the potential to learn and I’m just raring to go. One thing that I might have underestimated about this job is the amount of physical activity it requires. I’m almost constantly walking back and forth. In fact, I ferried a (I swear) 150 lb goat to my lab today! I was not so much as transporting the goat carcass as I was being carried by it. lol. That animal weighed a lot more than I did. Nevertheless, I’m just feeling the love from all angles. Call it the honeymoon period, but everyone has volunteered to come on down and help. I’m the only one in the actual lab. building so it does kinda get lonely and spooky because the ceiling makes all sorts of weird noises. I don’t scare easy though. 😀 Today, I got to strip the flesh off an animal (hint: the most loved of the marine mammals). It was long dead, cut up and boiled down. This is the one of the necessary steps to creating the skeletons you see on display in labs, museums, etc. Hopefully, I’ll have a hand in piecing the skeleton together. The next step is to de-grease the animal by soaking the bones in soapy water for 2 – 3 months. The bones then get bleached and painstakingly pieced together! I look forward to the process. It’s very intense, but I’m preparing myself for it mentally. I’m already getting familiar with the handbook on the dog’s anatomy. 🙂

Classes will begin soon and so will the madness. I’ve got to be ready. My departmental manager returns tomorrow and I’m ecstatic. There were certain things that were not handled as promptly as they would have been had she been here. I shall make a beeline for her office ASAP and get my issues sorted out (hopefully). Speaking of issues, apparently, because I experienced a relatively short period of un-employment at my (former) now-employer, my name was still on file with the health insurance folk so I don’t need to do any more sign-ups regarding that. However, I will not be able to get myself off the “defined benefits” retirement plan because I’m technically not a “new employee” because I had less than 2 weeks between my old job and the new job. *shakes head* No fair!! I was so excited and looking forward to managing stocks and funds, and what not. lol. Who knows? At the very least, by their same logic, I am fully expecting that their 9% match for the time I spent in the old job will be there. I will have to call them tomorrow to verify this. It will only be fair and if it is not, I may have to exercise whatever persuasive powers I have or root around in the rule books to find a way to leave this “defined contribution” plan because I’m really not happy about their 10-years-before-you-are-vested rule.

Which leads me to the topic of finances, my favorite whipping boy. 🙂 So, this month, despite nearly turning out to be a bad month as I got laid off from my first job, turned out to be really good for our finances because I got over 2 weeks of annual leave pay which covered the period from when I was actually laid off to when I got my new job. Essentially, I didn’t lose any pay despite losing a job. I didn’t do anything stupid with the extra money. Actually, let me amend that. 🙂 I did invest in some summer dresses, jeans and shoes which turned out to be roughly under $80 total. I have invested in some applications for my Palm Treo i.e. the King James’ Version on the bible (PocketLight KJV) for my smart phone and a Mobile Coach for tracking exercise, food, etc. I also send some large snowflakes to our emergency fund and our credit card. I totally anticipate clearing out the credit card before the year ends and reaching our emergency fund account goal. I have also taken the step (finally) of creating my Roth IRA account at one of the big 3 (Fidelity, Vanguard and T Rowe Price). I will have to commit to sending $200 to this Roth each month in order to escape the high amount needed to open a Roth IRA ($2,500). I’ve got to run. Have a great week, all!

My first day

My first day on the job was rather hectic. A lot of things to remember and I’m trying hard not to feel overwhelmed. I think I will like this job a lot and it will either cross off one career choice off the list or keep that thought alive. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 😀 I’m looking forward to tomorrow and learning the inner workings of the laboratory. It is a lot of responsibility and I am really looking forward to testing myself in this regard. I already like my supervisors so I’m positive that things will work out. It’s a lot of anatomy to take in and I’m excited about learning the animal parts, learning how to embalm & a perform a host of other procedures.

My babysitting gig went well on Sunday. I had forgotten about it and had to quickly hop on my bicycle and tear through town. It was a little over 3 miles and I got to my destination in less than 30 minutes. Not bad for an old geezer. 🙂 I tried biking yesterday, but the heat just sapped my energy. I couldn’t hack it and quit riding after a measly 3 miles. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a good bit today. I’m conservatively aiming for 6 miles of good riding so I’m crossing my fingers.

Mrs. JW got a diagnosis that’s both good and bad. I won’t go too deep about it, but she’s still under care of her treatment team right now. M & I will be seeing her this week. M’s been worried about her and he was relieved that there was a diagnosis. He’s getting his summer project for his GIS class started so wish him luck! That’s all I have at this moment. Peace!