Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Year in Review

We started 2014 in Indiana and ended it in Texas. Here is how it played out.

January
ManMan

We rang in 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana with the remaining group of Sara's grad school friends who were still in the vicinity. And watched as everyone else freaked out about the impending polar vortex snows.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

We saw Man Man in Louisville.

ManMan

A video posted by @seereeves on

Cale finished submitting all his PhD program applications and Sara spent a day and a half in Costa Rica for work.

A photo posted by @seereeves on


February
Facebook tells me that we spent a great deal of brunches at the Atlas with The Tamale Cart. We also took full advantage of Bloomington's newest brewery, Function (though, dear lord, don't look at their website, its atrocious). And we continued to spend Fridays with the Foul Plugs at Joe's.

A photo posted by @seereeves on


Oh, and there was this birthday.

Mike's Birthday

March
In March, the weather finally broke and we celebrated in the typical ways: pictures of Sara's bare feet and disc golf.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

A photo posted by @seereeves on

And St. Patrick's Day with friends.

St. Patrick's Day

April
Our biggest news in April was Cale accepting the offer from the PhD program at the LBJ School at the University of Texas in Austin.

April also means Easter is coming, and Carusillos need to make cacciatelli.

Making Cacciatelo

May
As the weather warms, so does the activity in the Casa de Reeves. The biggest news in May was Cale's graduation from grad school. Unlike some people we know (Sara), he actually walked in his ceremony.

Cale's Graduation

The regular Friday's with the Plugs continued.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

And we took a failed house-hunting trip to Austin.



A photo posted by @seereeves on

A photo posted by @seereeves on

Oh, and we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.

June
As we all know, summers are hell for Sara, but it was a busy one for Cale too, who was on multiple research projects at IU while also getting up to speed on the research group he would join in Texas.

Before we get to the craziness at the end of the month, we had some time for normalcy, like Sara's dad's birthday. No, that is normalcy for us.

Dad's Birthday

And the last weekend at the Rail before they were evicted.

A photo posted by @seereeves on



Global Business Institute 2014 started officially with the arrival of 94 students spread over more than two days. So, it was stressful right off the bat.

Global Business Institute 2015







But it appears Sara had fun too.



Cale was busy at work on research projects that included coding color pickers for pedestrian clothing and building the equivalent of an on-dash camera for a bike.

July
For Sara, July was classes...

Global Business Institute 2014

...and feedback from students on those classes...

A photo posted by @seereeves on

...and baseball games...

Global Business Institute 2014

...and site visits...

Global Business Institute 2014

...and selfies...

Global Business Institute 2014

oh so many selfies...



...and finally, final presentations.

Global Business Institute 2014

It was a stressful month as well.











Cale was hard at work on research projects and made a short-notice trip to Austin with Jake to finally find a place for us to move. With less then nine days until our arrival in Austin, we signed a lease.

Sara had a few more days at work to wrap up lose ends, and then:



Which began the packing...

A photo posted by @seereeves on

...and the loading...

A photo posted by @seereeves on

...and finally, the leaving for Texas.



August
In August, we arrived at our new home in Austin. And discovered it was hot.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

Before classes started for Cale at the end of the month and Sara started her job search in earnest, we decided to enjoy ourselves.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

And Cale had an adventure getting the Triumph street legal in Texas.

September
By September, Sara had found herself a job.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

And Cale was discovering just how perfect this PhD program was for him.

We both got to discover the Texas traffic.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

October
October was both wonderful and terrible for the family Reeves. We started the month with A Very Delhanksico Peace Corps Wedding of Wonder and Joy (official title).

A Very Delhanksico Wedding

But ended the month with the loss of an important member of our family.



November
This was an exciting month for Cale. One of the papers that came out his capstone project (with these guys) was accepted for publication.



Sara planned the Annual International Night and managed to explode boiling butter in her face.

A photo posted by @seereeves on

We also spent time with friends we're making here in Austin, from disc golfing to Dinner Lab-ing, to Thanksgiving with the other PhDs.

Thanksgiving

December
Cale's grades came in, and he rocked a 4.0 for his first semester as a PhD student. We had a Very Long Distance Carusillo Christmas.

 

Tune in for 2015 when there will be trips to Ghana, more Peace Corps weddings, and continued Austin shenanigans.

Sara

Monday, November 24, 2014

Apparently, I Am an Event Planner Now



A little over a week ago, [Business School Employer] hosted it's annual International Night. Running this event falls under my job description.

The [Business School Employer] International Night is the only International Night event on campus and is open to the public, so it is actually a pretty large event. It is comparable to IU's World's Fare, which just so happened to be on the same night up in Bloomington. I think our event is smaller though. We had 10 booths representing nine countries and one larger cultural region (African American and African Culture), as well as four performances and two children's entertainers. Almost 600 people attended the event.

This is the largest event I have had to organize, given that in my previous positions when a large event fell under my purview there was also a professional event planner on staff who could organize all those important details that you never realize you need until it is happening (unless you are a professional event planner who thinks of these things).

Organizing the 10 booths was a little like herding cats...incredibly busy, full-time MBA cats. I quickly discovered that instructions I thought were sufficiently detailed (as the un-detailed information was clearly intuitive) were clearly not and that students never ever read those materials anyway. I was also working through intermediaries in many instances, as the leadership from a student organization co-organizes this event and were communicating with the booths. Logistics I had outlined in detailed instructions never made it to the intended recipients. Given that I was new to my position and the students were new to their positions, no one was really to blame as none of us knew who was really in charge of what.

The trickiest part of the event is the food approval. At IU, the event is hosted in the Union and no outside food vendors are allowed. The booths share recipes with Union catering and it is all done in-house. At [Business School Employer], each booth could contract with a restaurant or caterer to provide their food. First though, the vendor had to be approved by the Heath & Safety inspector, which included booths submitting (on time) vendor requests that included a copy of the vendor's city permit. We asked each booth to submit at least two vendors in case one was not approved. Only two booths did this. We had several booths with vendors with expired city permits and other booths that couldn't seem to supply the city permit. So that was a fun process that went down to the wire with some booths. Next, the food had to be delivered by the vendor. The students were not allowed to transport it themselves. Until one booth informed us just days before that their restaurant would not deliver, and we had to improvise a compromise with the inspector. Finally, before the event doors can open that evening, all the food must be at temperature when the inspector comes around. In past years, they have opened the doors up to 30 minutes late because dishes weren't hot enough. This year we failed to calibrate the thermometers we gave to the booths and they were actually reading lower than the temperature. So booths were thinking their food was not hot enough and not requesting inspection when in fact they were good to go. Luckily, we got that cleared up. We also had booths with cold dishes and no ice to cool it with at first. Somehow, we managed to open the doors only two minutes late.

I constantly marveled at this attention to detail with the food. At IU, during the great Ramadan debacle of GBI, I was picking up trays of food from Taste of India, loading them into the trunk of my jeep and trekking them over to the dorm each night, curry slopping all over the trunk. No one ever asked to see a city permit (though Taste of India was an approved vendor, so I assume someone had seen one at some point) or tested the temperature of the food or questioned the back of a jeep as a transportation method. I suppose it is a miracle we all didn't die of food poisoning.

Next year I am going to be the best International Night event planner ever.

Sara

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Remember that Time I Wore My Nightgown to a Fancy Dress Party?

Last weekend I was in Dallas. We have an MBA program for working professionals in Dallas, and my office was hosting four hours of programming Saturday evening. In addition, that evening was the program's annual Holiday party, since it would be the last class weekend before Thanksgiving, and after Thanksgiving, schedules for working professionals who are also getting their MBAs get a little hectic. I was invited to the holiday party by the program staff. I was told the attire was cocktail / dressy professional.

I drove to Dallas and brought two dresses with me, thinking that one of them would work for the evening. I am a little weird about how to dress for fancy dress events. I want to look cute, but I am also uncomfortable in things with high hemlines or low necklines or tight clothing. It's hard to eschew all those features and not look dowdy though.


It's hard to tell in this picture, but it is the only picture that exists of me in this dress (that I am aware of).

One of the dresses I brought with me actually included a high hemline (well, above the knee, but not really that short), a low v-shaped neckline (I cannot even wear a bra with it), and it was tight. I've only worn it in public three times. A wedding, the closing dinner for the CIBER Business Language Conference, and Cale's SPROM (SPEA's winter dinner/dance). I pair it with a suit jacket to make it seem more professional. Cale picked it out, and to be honest, I look pretty damn hot in it.

However, I am not sure what I was thinking bringing it with me for this event. My new place of employment has turned out to be a little weird about clothes. My boss works from home on Fridays, so it was a month or so before she noticed that I had been observing casual Fridays (i.e. jeans). As it turns out, the MBA Program Office is staunchly anti-jean when school is in session.


This email actually came out not long after my boss told me about the jean situation.

There was no way I was going to be comfortable in my too-sexy dress at this event.

The other dress I brought, I haven't even worn yet. I got it at The Limited on sale (down to $30 from $100). And I thought it looked great in the fitting room, but when I tried it on for Cale at home, he (accurately) pointed out it made me look fat. Not exactly his words of course, but the gist. It is strapless and A-line. The cinched-in area just below the bustline fits me perfectly, but the bust area itself is too blouse-y and with the overall cut, it makes me look bulky. As I have frequently discovered, bigger boobs would solve this problem. There are a lot of problems in life solved by bigger boobs. Though if you ask the busty ladies, the bigger boobs bring on a whole host of other problems.

I put The Limited dress on and just couldn't bring myself to go to this event looking fat.

So there I am, standing in my hotel room in black tights wondering what I am going to put on over them. My options are limited, it needs to be in my suit case.

Which brings me to the nightgown. I had this big, flow, hippy coverup I bought at the tubing place when I needed to get home in a rental car and all I had was a wet bathing suit. It had become my housedress. Cale hated it with the fire of a thousand suns. So I had gone to Target and found something slightly more flattering. It was basically a giant gray tank top with a racer back. And I had that in my suitcase.

I threw the nightgown on over the tights, added my suit jacket, and voila, fancy dress party outfit.


Eh? That'll do.

Luckily, no one noticed I was wearing my nightgown as a dress. I think they were distracted by the fact that I managed to pour the second sip of my first glass of wine down my face and on to the floor.

Sara

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wild Texas Parakeets?

It's been unseasonably cold here in Austin. At least that is what the weather news people on the local NPR affiliate (KUT) tell me on my drive in to work. Weather.com tells me that the average high for today is 71 degrees with an average low of 51 degrees. Temps dropped below freezing over night last night and the high today was 47 - ten, TEN, degrees warmer than the high yesterday. Gross.

The cold weather has made our recent sightings around town of flocks of wild parakeets to be all the more surreal.

That's right, flocks of wild parakeets.


Source: Monk Parakeets of Austin, Texas

Imagine your driving through town and glance over at a cluster of your typical city birds. Some pigeons, some crow-like trash birds, and, wait, what? Parakeets? That's weird enough as it is, but with temperatures near freezing, tropical birds always look out of place. When we lived out in Spencer and drove into Bloomington everyday, there was a farm pond home to a large white egret that was there well into winter (snow on the ground, pond freezing over) and that was always strange too.

So, yeah, Austin (Texas for that matter) is home to wild parakeets. This article does a pretty good job of explaining.

Sara

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Texas Tidbits 2

Ongoing observations in Texas.
  • We have started to refer to them as the glorious highways of the great state of Texas. Texas, apparently, cannot have a road that it doesn't soar hundreds of feet into the air at some point. We want highways! We want them high!

  •  
    I haven't taken any good pictures myself yet, but this gives you an idea.
  • Will it rain this weekend? Who knows?

  •  
    In Bloomington, you could pretty much rely on weather predictions. Is St. Louis getting weather right now? Well, then we will probably have it in a couple of hours. You just had to look at the radar and watch the green sweep from west to east. It was pretty straight forward in Florida too. 2-4 pm? Hot? Probably going to rain for an hour. Done. In Samoa, other than the cyclones, I never paid too close attention to the weather. I don't even know if there was weather forecasting there. I paid way more attention to the USGS seismological website. I didn't care if it was going to rain; I wanted to know if it was going to tsunami. Even in Samoa there was some predictability. Weather moved from the south to the north. It never seemed to make it over the mountain. Was it raining at our house? Probably not. Would it rain when we went to the beach. Definitely. But here in Austin, the weather just makes no sense. The predictions are never accurate. When you look at the radar any green just sort of hovers around changing shape and size with out moving. I NEED TO KNOW IF I NEED AN UMBRELLA DAMMIT!
  • So the elections are coming up. I need to educate myself about the candidates on the ballot so I can make an informed decision. But what do I encounter in the very first race?

    Really? Spicybrown? Things are not looking good here. 
More later.

Sara

Rookie Mistake

It took more than a month for me to make my first in the job mistake. Given that I made the same mistake at IU just a month before I left, I suppose it's not that rookie of a mistake

Frequently rooms that you have reserved in campus buildings are locked when not in use, and you have to remember to get the key. When your event is during business hours, this is not such a big deal. You can just run down and get the key. However when it's 5:45 pm and it's just dawned on you that the room your 6:00 pm event is in is locked, you're a little bit screwed. 

I tried the door of the of the events room with a sinking sensation in my stomach and immediately rushed back to the office to ask my colleague (just three days back from paternity leave) what my options were. 

Tommy immediately went in search of custodial staff who may have a key to the room. Lucky for me Tommy is fluent in Spanish, as the first person we found was a Spanish speaker. She and Tommy had a engaging exchange, the only think I was able to takeaway from it was that there was a room downstairs. We all headed down stairs to find the manager's office locked and empty. Tommy translated for me that we needed to find Doug, the manager. The only clue we had was that he was somewhere in the building and Vietnamese. And so began the great sprint up and down stairs and up and down hallways in three-inch wedges. Each time I was on the third (I consider it the second) floor, I would poke my head down the hallway with the events room and tell the presenter I was still working on finding a key. Each time, the crowd of students waiting to get in grew.

We never did find Doug, but Tommy did find Sean. And Sean had a key. However, Sean was a little incredulous. He didn't seem like he wanted to let us into the room. Tommy was convincing him that we really did work here and weren't shady characters trying to break into a nearly empty auditorium space. At one point, Tommy even had his drivers license out of his wallet, I suppose to prove he was himself?

Luckily, Sean decided we were trustworthy and let us into the room and the presentation only began about 15 minutes late.

When I did the same thing at IU in late June, it was a Sunday and luckily the dean was attending the brunch we were hosting. I was able to get her to open the classroom we planned to have the students in after the brunch. Though it was embarrassing to ask the dean herself to open a room for you.

Sara 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Texas Tidbits

Typically, when we (I) travel, I will post tidbit posts. They are just a random collection of observations that don't really lend themselves to a post of their own.

I feel like I have gathered enough to warrant one for our time in Texas so far.
  • Texas really loves "Texas." I have come across many things in the state that don't necessarily need to be labeled as Texas, yet they are. The most prevalent ones for me are at work. So the MBA program here at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas isn't just an MBA or a McCombs MBA or a UT MBA, it is — officially — the Texas MBA Program - McCombs School of Business. And the evening MBA program is is the Texas Evening MBA Program. And the executive MBA is the Texas Executive MBA Program (though since the acronym for both cannot be TEMBA, this one is just EMBA). Because Texas.
  • I am in room 3.204 on the second floor of one building that is in fact in a second building connected to that first building which may or not be on the second or third floor of the second building. Make sense? The McCombs building is confusing enough itself, as it is actually two undergraduate buildings and a rhombus-shaped graduate building that have all been combined into a single building. However, even if the McCombs building itself wasn't so strangely shaped, the floor numbering system across the campus is confusing enough. Walk into any building on the UT campus at ground level and you are more than likely to find yourself on a floor labeled as the second floor. Add to that the fact that all rooms are numbered through a strange decimal system, hence the 3.204 for my office (the 3 supposedly referring to the floor, despite this being the second floor according to my math). I was baffled by this and the explanation has done nothing to alleviate that bafflement. Apparently, the entire UT campus in Austin uses the Acree Carlisle Room Numbering System, a room-numbering system so arcane or little-used that the only references to it also reference UT-Austin. Let me give you a little explanation: "'The main goal is a perfectly logical system of numbering, whose purpose is ultimately to help students get around the campus.'...Upon entering a building, a student walks past a door numbered 2.102 on her right, next past one on the left numbered 2.106...Levels are numbered beginning with the lowest level in the structure, without reference to ground or entry level...after the designated floor level, is a number indicating a hallway..." and so forth. Perfectly logical right? Confusing as all get out. Read more about this insane system here. And see a snippet of its implementation at UT here. And, bask in the wonder of literally everything in a building (from the corridors to the stairs) having a number in the system.


More tidbits to come!

Sara

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Power Pose

Source: www.express.co.uk/

I've had the new job now for two weeks, and I have been meaning to blog about it. But as it turns out, two weeks of getting to know your office job are not all that exciting or blog-worthy.

One part of a new job is being introduced to everyone around the office. What this means is during the past two weeks, I would frequently find myself standing somewhere and being introduced to someone. Following the initial handshake, there is always some requisite chit-chat. Where were you before? What brought you to Austin? Etc. During this semi-awkward small talk, I would find myself hyper-aware of what I was doing with my body. Don't cross your arms in front of your chest, Sara. You want to seem approachable. Don't cross your legs at the knee like that, you've seen what that does for your hips in pictures.

Inevitably, my go-to stance is what I have since learned is often referred to as the "Wonder Woman." Hands on hips, legs apart. However, I even found myself self conscious about this pose, as I felt (particularly when I was in a skirt) that it was not very lady-like.

I recently came across an article in the New York Times that spoke to me. Research by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, shows an interesting effect the body can have on the mind. We already knew that people smile when they are happy and that forcing the face into a smile can also increase feelings of happiness. What Cuddy has found is that assuming "power poses" can increase testosterone and decrease cortisol, basically making people feel more confident and powerful.

The Wonder Woman, as you have probably guessed, is a power pose.

These power poses weren't just plucked from thin air; they come from nature and are the sorts of poses that powerful people naturally make. Or the poses people consciously choose to make when wanting to exude power.

Either way, I apparently subconsciously feel pretty powerful if my go to stance is a power pose. However, I find it interesting that I am also self conscious about this power pose because I feel that it isn't lady like. I am sure there is an entire Master's thesis on the implications of power feeling inherently un-womanly or inappropriate for a lady-like woman. But that's a tangent for another day.

I highly recommend you check out Cuddy's TED talk. It's pretty interesting.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Can Haz Job



The job search is probably one of my least favorite things about life changes. There is something about the combination of insecurity and bravado that makes the whole experience a little unsettling.

Much like my last job search, I started the process unnecessarily early long before we had left Bloomington and before the "Summer in which Sara Got No Sleep" began. I updated my LinkedIn and broke out all my networking skills to track down everyone I knew who knew someone in Austin. I lined up all sorts of meetings for myself with these connections when Cale and I were in Austin in May for our failed house-hunting trip. I even applied for what appeared to be a perfect position with International Studies Abroad.

The more people I spoke with the more often I heard the same mantra: "You have to have a local address and phone number or they just throw your resume out without even a second glance." I went so far as to get myself a Skype 512 number.

However, after all that effort, my summer started to ramp up, and I found myself without even the slightest hint of time to even remotely consider the job search. Initially this made me quite anxious. Sure, Cale had done whatever magical financial math he does that means we always seem to have enough money* and had assured me that I had until January to find a job. But as the main breadwinner, I found that hard to believe.

*We decided way back in Florida that the solution to an ongoing problem in which Sara was perpetually convinced we were on the verge of destitution was that Sara was no longer allowed to participate in the household financial management. Given that I hate to shop and spend money, there was no threat that I would just spend money willy-nilly oblivious to our financial circumstances. It has appeared to work rather well for us for the past seven or eight years.

Despite my concerns, my summer soon became too busy for me to even find time to worry about worrying. So I just stopped worrying altogether. There was nothing to be done about it until we were in Austin.

When we finally arrived in Austin, I began my job search in earnest. Set up my color-coded spreadsheet to track jobs, applications, responses, etc. Searched web sites. Networked like a pro. I applied for anything and everything that I felt even remotely qualified for and interested in. Fourteen positions in total. Not because I was willing to accept any position, but because I wanted the experience applying, writing cover letters, interviewing, etc. And, of course, I wanted contingency plans if that perfect position never appeared or didn't pan out.

When you are unemployed and in the middle of a job search, it feels like it will never end and you will write cover letters (the bane of my existence) for the rest of your life. But, to be honest, I have always been very lucky with the speed with which I find great positions. In this case, I had a screening call for the Senior Program Coordinator position with the McCombs School of Business MBA+ Program on August 13, two weeks after our move. That led to an in-person interview a week later.

For my previous job as a Program Manager at the Institute for International Business, I left that interview convinced I had bombed it. I went directly home, drank two PBRs, and ate a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Then I scheduled an appointment with SPEA Career Services to work on my interview skills. I was shocked when they actually offered me the job. For this interview though, I left feeling really confident. I felt that it was a job that I could do well and enjoy doing and that those I had spoken with felt the same way and that they would enjoy working with me.

Then began the terrible waiting game of doubt. They only interviewed two candidates for the job and anticipated making an offer the next week. When Friday of the following week came and went with no call, I convinced myself they offered the position to the other candidate and he or she was taking the long (Labor Day) weekend to make the decision. I anticipated a call letting me know I wasn't being offered the position on Tuesday. But Tuesday came and went.

On Wednesday, I was actually in an interview when my phone started to ring. I had it on silent, but even the vibrations were distracting enough that I had to apologize and grab it from my bag to end the call. As I walked back to the Jeep following the interview, I checked my messages and saw a garbled voice-mail-to-text translation that told me that the call was from the hiring manager at McCombs, but it was too unintelligible to know if it was good or bad news. Thankfully, she had sent me an email too. And there, clearly, in black and white in front of me was a job offer for a great position. And to top it off, they offered me the max budgeted salary rather than the minimum posted with the position in order to side-step the negotiation process. It was actually just a tiny bit more than what I had decided I would try to negotiate for (don't tell the boss!), so there were no complaints from me.

For the rest of the day the hiring manager and I played a frustrating game of phone tag. I called and left her a message to accept the position and sent an email as well. She called my back while I was in the middle of discovering the cat had a festering, puss oozing wound on his head. Etc. But finally, we spoke on the phone and made it almost* official.

*Even though I had accepted the offer over the phone, I was really waiting for the offer letter to make it feel official, which is why I have been a little silent on the job details, as it took another week to finally get that letter. 

I had promised myself when we first moved to Austin (and discovered there was a Krispy Kreme literally down the street) that I could have a doughnut when I got a job. I spent the rest of the day (when I wasn't with the cat at the vet) checking for the hot light. Finally, that evening I had my (three) celebratory doughnut(s).

There you have it. I can haz job.

I'll start work on Monday, and I am sure that after the first week, I will have a clearer picture of my responsibilities. However, I know that I will be recruiting and scoping consulting projects for McCombs MBA students across all the MBA programs. They average 30-40 projects for teams of 4-6 students each semester. In addition, I will be arranging professional development leadership workshops and coordinating students' access to a roster of executive coaches. I will be able to inject a little of my interest in international into the position, recruiting projects with international or multinational firms, working with international students, and possibly, leading one of the MBA Global Connections trips. The Global Connections program is run out of the MBA+ office where I will work and the office staff help with in-country logistics for the trips in the summer.

I'll check back in again next week after I actually can had job for a little while.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Saga of the Horn

This is the saga of the horn.

But first, a little background.
In Indiana, that bastion of republicanism, no damn goverment can tell you what sort of motor vehicle you can and can't operate on the (*cough) communally funded roadway infastructure. If it has wheels - well, it ain't GOT to have wheels, cause nobody is checking - you can ride or drive it to your heart's content.

These liberals in Texas have inspections. Some private business-person acting as a stooge for the state has to give all your vehicles the once-over to make sure they are safe. And they do it every year. And for a motorcycle, "safe" means it has a horn. Turn signals: Nope. Head light cut-out switch: ok on an old bike. Dry rotted tires: ok in the tread, but not on the side-wall.

I ride a 45-year old triumph. It is safe. Old enough for the cut-out switch, fresh rubber and everything, but the horn don't work. Never did.

So I have 30 days from the day we moved here to get inspected and plated, and the first step is to install a horn. I found one on ebay. Vintage triumph horn; but the reserve was too high. I'm not paying through the nose just to be what the ninnies in state government call "Legal." So I found another one on ebay and bid on it, but the auction doesn't end for-EVER. I'm not patient enough for ebay, so I buy a POS horn off amazon. It works for one-wire or two-wire systems! I have a two-wire system! OK!

Enter the second big player in the story: the repop Tricon switch. This switch controls the headlight. It has a slider; one end is low-beam and the other end is high-beams. Remember about the head light cut-out switch? On such a high quality item as this, head light off is anywhere in between low-beam and high-beam. It's convenient, but not the mark of a well manufactured product.

So I wire the horn up to the switch. Cake. I go for a ride. I should mention that the Triumph is not a huge fan of the 110 degree stop and go traffic. It doesnt idle real smoothly. I have to keep manipulating the throttle to keep it from dying at particularly long lights, or at lights where it takes me three phases to get through them. So I go out riding and the horn – which works – begins to work a little too well. Like it beeps a little bit at stops. At first. Then it beeps a little bit when riding. Then it starts beeping all to hell, and rattling around in the tunnel under the tank. Then the bike dies at a stop.

I'm the guy sweating his ass off in 110 degree heat trying to kick over a stalled Triumph with a horn blaring at like 4 in the afternoon in north Austin the other day – just in case you noticed me.

So I limp home horn still beeping intermittently. I take the thing back apart and begin to investigate. Here is how that Tricon switch's horn button works. You feed it a live wire, and it will ground it out for you everytime you press the button. And all the time that the convenient attach-it-to-the-handlebar screw is used. So to get the horn in the circuit, I feed it switched power, and then return the other switched-power-plus-horn line to the Tricon to ground when I press the button, thus completing the horn circuit and delivering a beep. Great. Except that the body of the horn (also for use with a one-wire system!) is ground. So the bracket for the horn is ground. So the beep is on.

I break out my exacto knife and some cork and set about isolating the horn from ground. I also have to re-attach the horn a little better to its bracket becaue some of the intermittent beeping was caused by it grounding out against the inside of the gas tank tunnel while it was bouncing around all loose. All fixed, and I go for a ride. I get about 6 miles in and the intermittent bad-ingnition system returns fouling out the right side plug. I turn around at mile 7, and go home at top speed ~45 mph on the 65 mph interstate. This is a full-on limp home.

Conveniently, I have a full set of replacement ingnition parts. Out with the old, in with the new, and I am finally up and running again. So I go get the inspection at this awesome bike shop (plug: flashmotorbikes.com) and I am finally OFFICIALLY SAFE and ready to get legal.

Coda: It'll cost me about $600 to get all the vehicles plated. So I'll get legal later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Job Search So Far - UPDATED Again, Again

Well, some how in my attempts to update this blog, I managed to delete all the code. Read: lost entire blog. I have recreated it with updates to the best of my ability below.

18 21 27 31

Days in Austin

11 15

Cover Letters Written

8 10 11 14

Positions Actually Applied for

3 4

Informational Interviews

3

Rejections

2

Phone Screening Interviews (one that led to an actual interview)

1 2

Actual Interviews (one done, one scheduled)

1

Informational Interview that Turned Out to be an Actual Interview

Sara

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Deep in the Heart of Texas it's...HOT

A photo posted by @seereeves on

Did you see what I did there? Heart of Texas? HOT? Get it?

I am so damn clever.

So, yeah, it is hot here in Austin. Luckily, it's just what we love. We re-acclimated to the heat quite quickly. Earlier this week, Cale and I were sitting at the kitchen table working on a puzzle (yeah, I know, insert nerd joke here), and I reached up to turn down the ceiling fan.

Cale: I was thinking it was a bit chilly in here, what is the thermostat set for?

Yeah, 77.

We've decided that 80 is a good indoor temperature. Texas heat? Bring it, we say.

Sara

P.S. Whatever my comfortability with the heat, the people out for a jog at 2 pm in 100+ weather are still crazy people. That has not changed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Digs



Well, we've moved again, and I have been remiss in my blogging.

Cale was accepted in to the PhD program at the University of Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs. So here we are in Austin, Texas for at least the next four years.

The lead up to the move was a little stressful for both of us. Cale was still working at IU on multiple research projects and managing all the details of the move while also adding in new responsibilities from his upcoming position with a research project in Austin. I managed the Global Business Institute this year and, starting with the early arrival of almost a third of the group, worked 100-hour weeks for four weeks ending July 19th. My last day of work was July 22. By July 30 we had all our earthly belongings in a 20-foot U-haul and the Jeep on a trailer. We hit the road for Texas on July 31.



We were lucky we even had a place to move our things to down in Austin. Cale and I had taken a house-hunting vacation back in May in the hopes of finding a rental home. We picked the dates based on advice from a real estate agent who recommended we come 30-45 days out.

Austin, you see, is a tricky housing market. You cannot find a place on your own. You need a real estate agent. Even for rentals.

Unfortunately, our original agent was full of lies and it is virtually impossible to lease a place more than two weeks out. So that trip was a total, expensive bust. At least we got a little vacationing in.

   

Instead, Cale and Jake made an emergency house-hunting and disk golf trip down to Austin two weeks before we moved. We finally signed a lease nine days before we left.

The ~16 hour straight drive to Austin takes quite a bit longer when you are in a 20-foot U-haul with a Jeep on the back. We drove 17 hours on the first day just to Sulpher Springs, Texas (and by we, I mean mostly Cale) and still had another six hours the next day to Austin. We averaged 45 mph and got about eight miles to the gallon.

We've been in Austin a week now. We're settling in. Finding the hipster brunch locations, walking to our corner bar, the usuals.

Cale will start classes near the end of the month. Hopefully, my job hunt will go quickly.

More later.

Sara

Monday, January 20, 2014

On the Road Again

I am traveling for work again. Just a two-day stop in San Jose, Costa Rica. I forgot to create my maps in advance this time though! I am falling down on the job.

Tidbits thus far:

  • Remember in Amman when I said the first restaurant we came to was a Buffalo Wild Wings? Well, a knock-off BeeDubs? There is literally a Hooters next to my hotel here. Not a knock off. We passed all things America on the way in from the airport. Wendy's, McDonald's, KFC, Taco Bell, Applebees, etc.
  • Tea with milk = cup of warm milk and tea bag.
  • Arctic plunge on its way to the Midwest. Eating breakfast outside in sunny 70s here.
More later.