Friday, 29 August 2008

Ah, the working life...

I haven't updated in a few days... perhaps that's because I've actually been busy! Wednesday I was called and offered basically two different positions (both temporary, which is actually what I want so that I can see what I like to do best). The first position was developing Power Point presentations for company who had some bids accepted and needed the proposals/plans put into presentations for their clients. I passed on that one... while I know how to use Power Point rather well, I wanted more variety than that. The second was in an administrative role for an oil company recruitment service. I decided to go for that one and so far it's been good.

I started working yesterday (Thursday) morning and the job ends the 24th of September and I'll find another placement. I'm working for a company that basically gets a bunch of CV's for people with experience in the oil industry. We then reformat those CV's in a specific way and load them onto a database. That way, other companies (they serve a lot of companies... from Oceaneering to BP to Technip etc) can post a job, search within the database for people with certain qualifications, then contact us regarding them for more information. They come in and do a pre-interview (if they are here, otherwise they go to another office) and we gather and check all their references. What I do is answer phones, format all the CV's that are sent in and send them on to the proper recruiter, handle the mail, file documents, update the database, order supplies, reply to applicants, check to make sure the CV's are current in the system, and make sure all the applications certifications are current. Yesterday they had several CV's for me to do and I finished them all by lunch time... only a few extra trickled in the rest of the day so I was out of things to do by 2:00. I was asking everyone if there was anything else I could do and so I was sent to shred out of date paperwork. I have like 3 more boxes to shred when I get done with all my other stuff today, which isn't so fun but that's ok. I swear they are the most staple happy people I've ever seen. It seems like whoever was working on that stuff back in 03 (that's when the stuff that I'm shredding is from) double stapled EVERYTHING, and felt that each receipt had to be attached to the paper with it's own staple... so it makes for a tedious job pulling them all out before I can actually shred the document.

It's good to be working again, I wish it was a busier place (haha, I'm sure I'll regret saying that sometime), but I like it. The people are all nice and it seems pretty relaxed there. Today (Friday) we are going to have a pizza party for one of the girls who is leaving to go back to France and it's casual Friday so I get to wear jeans. I like that.

I'll update more on it later, I have to go to work :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Interviews...

So it turns out that I still know my way around the Microsoft packages. I was a little concerned when I found out that at the two interviews I had (today and yesterday) they were going to be testing me on my knowledge of Word and Excel (and questioning me on Power Point). I haven't used Excel really since, oh I don't know... maybe 2005. I hadn't used Word really since I graduated (2007) and I was feeling a little rusty. However, everything went wonderfully and I was worried for no reason. I only missed one question (out of 60, thank you very much) and I think that was due to the fact that the mouse kept getting stuck down and it wouldn't let me paste correctly on one question before it moved on to the next one. Either way... I'm ok with that. Then the lady laughed at me for apologizing about my typing speed (I'm really used to my awesome keyboard and was a little annoyed with their sticky and loud keyboard). She said she had never had anyone apologize for "only" typing 71 words a minute with 100% accuracy. I guess that's the perfectionist in me. If I was given the opportunity I'd be all over taking the test again. I'm a nerd like that.

The interview part went really well for both places, I really liked both of the women who interviewed me. Maybe it's just because I haven't interviewed in a while or maybe it's due to the fact that I just really wanted to meet new people, but I wasn't nervous at all like I usually am when I'm at an interview. I went in feeling confident and had a great time. I wish all of my interviews that I've ever been to were that easy. What I liked even more was the fact that I didn't feel like I was trying to sell myself, which is one of the things I hate most about interviews. I think I owe a lot of that confidence to Nic. I think because I don't HAVE to work because he provides for me I don't feel the pressure that I once did. In the U.S. I had to have a job to make things work, we both did. Here, it isn't that I necessarily have to work to make ends meet, it's just to make things easier. I think that has really helped me feel better about looking for a position because it isn't a make it or break it situation (if that makes sense). Here, I can be picky about finding something that fits my personality. I like that a lot.

Because the first two interviews of the week went so well, I don't think I'll be going to the last one (at the bank). I'm going to call them tomorrow morning and tell them that I can't find all the paperwork that they requested (which is the honest to goodness truth...) and to remove my name from the list of interviews on Friday. Part of this has to do with the fact that I don't feel like I'll be happy there. I first thought I would be because I love helping people with their finances and I like to be around people. Now, the more I think about it, the more worried I am that I won't like it... partly because you have to try to sell the banks services (travel insurance, car insurance, savings accounts and cds, etc) and I'm just not a pushy person. I just can't bring myself to become what Raime and I call a "bank bitch" because it seems like everyone who works as a teller for a while becomes hardened and mean. And lastly, I really think they are extreme with all the documentation they need and how they won't work with you on anything regarding that paperwork. I understand that they have to be more thorough with their applicants than most places because they are a financial institution, but I still feel like a thorough background check and calling references would be enough.

Anyway, I have the opportunity to work at a place in Westhill (which unfortunately is 28 miles away) starting Monday, but I think I'm going to wait and hear back from the first interview to respond to the offer. The position in Westhill is a project administrator (basically an admin to a group of people in the office) and seems like it would be perfect for me. It looks like the pay would be good (they haven't set an official number yet) and the job description they described would be wonderful. I just really don't want to travel that far. With us only having one vehicle, it would really make things difficult and I don't want to drive almost 60 miles a day... been there, done that. Is commuting distance really a valid reason to turn down an otherwise great opportunity? I don't know. It's definitely something to think about.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Our Clever Boy...

Abraham is a very smart dog... I've always known this. What I didn't quite realise is how far he would go to get what he wants and how sneaky he could be. I received a phone call from Cris this afternoon to fill me in on just how clever my dog is.

Friday morning she went out to feed him like normal. He was in the back yard, waiting for his food and everything seemed normal. Today (Saturday) she went out to feed him again and he was missing. It's pretty scary when you think you've lost someone else's beloved pet (as both sets of our parents have found out thanks to Abe) so Cris and Tony drove around for a while looking for him. They drove around the neighborhood, to the park down the street, to the houses across the ditch, and even to the pound... all with no luck. So they returned to the house and started to work on printing up flyers. As the first flyer was finishing printing a neighbor showed up to say that they had Abraham in their backyard. What's interesting about this (as he is often in someone else's backyard) is that they claim that he was there since THURSDAY. The family has three teenagers and a dog of their own, so Abe was getting a lot of attention and a different option of food. Cris walked over to their house to make sure it was Abe (since she knows he was at the house on Friday and they say he was in their backyard the whole time). Turns out... my baby has been playing some people. Big time. He has dug holes in the back of Cris and Tony's house and in this other family's house as well and has been going back and forth as he pleases. He comes back to Cris and Tony's for food and such, and then goes to the other family to play with their dog and play fetch with the girls... I think it's halarious. Tony has patched the holes in both places and they are watching Abe to see if he's going to attempt to do it again.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Coming home early?

Nic might possibly have the chance to come home early (I'm hoping that he does)... as he's just about wrapped up everything he needed to do in Canada. He's thinking about catching a different flight home (that leaves tonight at like 6 something) and getting home tomorrow instead of Sunday. I would LOVE that, this house just isn't the same without him. As much as I enjoy reading all day, sleeping without someone saying I'm a lazy bum, and watching all the chick shows that I want on TV... I'd honestly rather suffer through Star Trek with my husband by my side.

As for Nic, he's been really busy this week but it seems like he's been having a pretty good time. His trip to Canada went smoothly and he was in Galveston before he knew it. The conference went well, and he got a really good look at the OI4 vessel, which is a nice added bonus. He got A LOT of work done, which is great and got to spend time with people he wouldn't have had the chance to otherwise. He's bringing home some equipment for Jay and is excited because as a thanks for doing so Jay is going to give us a few private Scuba diving lessons. I'm really excited about that, not only because I want to learn to scuba, but because it's with Jay and I can't wait to hear all his cool stories. I'm hoping that Bob will join us and that would just make it perfect! Anyway- other than that, he got to spend some time with his family too which is good. He also made it over to the house and the storage unit and managed to grab a few things that we have been wanting to bring over (some movies, robotic stuff, and 360 games). Cris bought some towels for us too and another bathmat thing for the bathroom, so that was nice.

I really can't wait to see my husband again.

***EDIT- Yay! Nic gets to come home early! He'll be here at 8:40 in the morning and I can't wait. He's a little perturbed at the moment due to the airline people and their baggage restrictions, but other than that I think he's happy to be coming home early too. He's already had to pay $50 or something to bring an extra bag on the flight to Canada because apparently Continental only allows one check in bag now. What the heck? Since when did they only allow one bag? Now he's trying to figure out ways to cut down some weight because to get on the next flight on KLM he has to cut back 8 kilos or he'll have to pay another $50 for that. He's really irritated, I don't blame him. Airlines are getting to be so picky about baggage and it seems like the customers are really paying for it. We'll see if he can cut out the extra weight, but I don't know where he's going to pull it from... all his bags are right on the edge of being overweight since he's carrying all that gear and stuff from home. Regardless of the fees, I'll be happy when he's back. I've already ironed all his dress clothes (except what he has in his bag of course) and done all the dishes. I'm in the process of washing the sheets and cleaning the kitchen and living room. The house should be all fresh and clean when he gets back... maybe that will help him forget his traveling troubles.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

So apparently all I have to do is open my mouth about not getting enough feedback to bring in e-mails about work. I now have two more interviews (a lot changes in 12 hours...) for next week. I have one Monday at 1:00 and then one on Tuesday at 1:30. I'm hoping those two go well and that I won't have to go to the one Friday. We'll see though. I'm starting to feel better about it and myself for that matter... I was starting to get a little worried that something was wrong with me (or my CV). I guess that's what happens when you don't work for 10 months. Geez... It's hard to believe it's been that long.

On a side note: the harr (sea mist/fog) is incredibly thick and has been for the last two days or so. You can't see more than 10 feet in front of you sometimes... it makes things interesting I guess. I feel like I'm in a sci-fi movie or something. Nic was laughing at me for not going anywhere, even though I have Sexy Lexi all to myself this week, I told him it was because I don't really trust myself when I can't see the end of the car. If I had the camera I'd take a picture of it (Nic took it with him to Canada) to show you all how wacky it is. I can't even see my garage.

I'm hoping that it clears up this afternoon sometime, I need to go get nice paper to print my cv and stuff on and some more yogurt... I flew through the package that we bought Saturday. It's this really good yogurt that is plain but has a fruit compote in a seperate package (but still connected if that makes sense) that you mix in yourself. I like it because that way you can decide just how fruity your yogurt is. It's quite nice. My favorite is the cherry kind.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Busy as a Bee

I've decided that I really want to start working again. I'm looking forward to doing something (anything) outside of the house. I've been submitting my CV to some places that I think I might enjoy working at and have had a little feedback so far, although not as much as I'd like. I have an interview with the Royal Bank of Scotland on the 29th, although I must say I'm not thoroughly excited about that one. I thought I would really enjoy working at a bank at first, especially considering my love of all things having to do with personal finance, but I have changed my mind about that after all the hoopla that has come with securing an interview. I've already had my phone interview (which included a competency quiz where they put me on the spot and had me do "maths" in my head) which I did well in. Now is the face-to-face interview, where I have to provide proof of EVERYTHING I've been doing over the past 3 years. I mean everything. They want pay stubs from the first and last three months of each of my jobs from the last three years (who has that?!), a bill from each residence I've lived in (do they know how many times I've moved?) and proof of what I've been doing, even when I haven't been working. This last bit has really thrown me. I told them that I haven't been working since October of 2007. They then asked what I had been doing- I replied "being a housewife while I waited on my Dependant's visa". They thought that was ok, and said I could prove that by bringing in my unemployment claims. That's where the problem lies... I'm not claiming unemployment (isn't that a good thing?!). The lady sounded shocked when I told her that and replied with "how have you been supporting yourself then?" in which I replied... "my husband pays the bills and supports me financially". This didn't satisfy her and she said that I would still have to prove what I've been doing. How exactly am I supposed to prove that I've been a housewife? Does she want my journal excerpts? I have no idea what I'm going to do there... and she said if I didn't have every document they required (including the "proof"), they wouldn't be able to continue with the interview process. What a pain. SOOO.... I'm looking elsewhere. The problem with that is that finding a job as an administrative assistant is proving to be less than easy. Apparently I have "too much experience", whatever that means for any receptionist job because I understand how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. I've been looking at jobs as an administrative assistant or personal assistant lately, we'll see how that goes.

I'm not giving up on teaching, just taking a hiatus from it while I'm here since I'm not certified here. I would go back to school for that here so that I could teach, but because we aren't residents here we don't qualify for the free education that the Scottish Universities provide their residents. This means that I would have to pay international rates (think roughly 16,000 pounds for the year which is 32,000 US dollars). No thanks... we probably aren't going to live here forever so I don't think I'm ready to dish out that kind of money when I've already paid more than that for my degree at home.

Nic is in Canada and is doing great on his trip... he'll be heading to the Deepwater Intervention Forum's Annual Conference tomorrow. He'll be there until Friday morning when he'll return to Montreal and then fly home to me on Sunday (well, he leaves late Saturday and gets here Sunday morning). Everything is going smoothly so far, except his taxi drivers haven't exactly been the best lately. When he arrived the first taxi took him to the wrong airport and this morning he had to call two before one showed up to take him to where he needed to go. I think he's regretting not renting a car there, but everything should be good. He has to leave the hotel bright and early tomorrow morning to make his 6:00 flight, so I hope they are on time tomorrow.

I've been reading quite a bit (when I'm not at the grocery store or looking for a job), which has been nice. I am currently reading "My Life With George", which is a book about a woman who's husband has died so she got a dog to make her life (and her young son's) less lonely. George is their dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and is quite a feisty little animal. It's been pretty entertaining, though I'm looking forward to the other books I have planned for this week.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Olympics Maniac!

I know that every four years I get a little obsessed with the Olympics, but it seems like this year has me even more wrapped up in them than usual. I'm guessing it's because I'm not working and it brings me some excitement. Either it's that or the fact that I'm completely amazed by some of the Olympians and don't want to miss anything major. I have been rooting (and by that I mean screaming at the TV like they can hear me over there) for Michael Phelps (and who isn't?!), Aaron Peirsol, Katie Hoff (who has kinda bummed me out a little, but is still doing awesome), Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte, Larsen Jensen, Rebecca Adlington and of course David Florence. I'm trying to cheer for team GB as much as the good ol' USA but I am still VERY biased towards the US... You have to be amazed by them. Watching swimming lately in the games has really made me miss the pool and I wish that I was still actively swimming. I can't wait to watch the next few races for Phelps, he's amazing and I know he'll do well. What I'm really getting geared up about is the fact that the Olympics are coming back to London in 2012 and I am totally going to be there. I can't wait.

Nic is getting ready for his trip next week, I'm still waiting on him to send me his flight arrangements so that I can get everything else prepared. So far all I've done is laundry the past few days. I've been feeling yicky the past week or so and have just been camped out on the couch (yes... watching the Olympics- how convenient) drinking tea. I really need to do a thorough cleaning of the house but I think I'll save most of that work for when Nic is gone so that I'll have more to do (plus swimming will be over by then- so sad).

Monday, 11 August 2008

The new addition to the family...

Ok, so last time I posted I mentioned going to look at a car. We did go test drive that one, but it just wasn't for us. It didn't have enough power for Nic and it was much smaller than I would have liked. It only seats 4 and the boot (or trunk in the US) was teeny tiny. You could maybe fit 3 grocery bags in there. Maybe. So we passed on that one, but we are very happy about that.

We did find the car that we wanted. For those of you that really know us well, you'll know that we had a 2006 Subaru WRX in the states that we absolutely LOVED. Her name was Roxanne (we called her Roxie) and she was beautiful. Nic and I were both really happy with her and it made us really sad (I cried) when we had to sell her to move over here. We have missed her a lot (especially since we've been driving the ghetto volvo) and decided that we needed another one. So, on Friday we bought another 2006 WRX (only this time it's the SL version). We named her Alexandra (we are calling her Lexi or Sexy Lexi). She only has a little over 4000 miles on her so the turbo isn't even fully broken in yet. The guy who owned her before worked offshore and was never home to drive her around. She has a performance package installed giving her more horsepower, better exhaust, an STI wing, short throw shifter, etc. She also has leather seats, a sunroof and an immobilizer installed. We're two happy campers. We have been out driving around the past few days and I haven't really been home to update you all, my apologies.

Here are some pictures of her for your viewing pleasure... I'll post more when it stops raining.





Today is the first day that Nic is taking her to work, I think he's a little excited to not be taking the volvo anymore. We traded the volvo in and they gave us 360 pounds for it, we were really excited about that. Considering we paid 600 pounds for it about 9 months ago and now that the door won't work and the brakes are going bad, I figure we came out ahead.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Pains, Planes and Automobiles...

We think we may have found a car... we'll go to test drive it tomorrow. It's a 2004 Citroen C2 1.6i 1g V GT. In English, it's a cute little black 2 door hatchback. It only has 38,500 miles on it and has only had one owner. We'll see if we like how it drives tomorrow, but as for now it has the thumbs up. I'm happy because it's fairly cheap, gets GREAT gas mileage (40-50 mpg), is in excellent condition, and is small. Nic likes it because it's fairly cheap, has a little spunk (compared to the other cars we were looking at and the good ol' volvo), is little, and doesn't look half bad. I'll tell you all how it goes after we test drive it. We would have gone to test it this weekend but had some scheduling conflicts with the owner and so we opted for tomorrow night.

Meanwhile... I'm not exactly sure what I did, but I must have done something to aggravate my back. I'm hobbling around like I am 102 or something. It doesn't matter whether I'm sitting down, standing up, or laying flat on my back... it doesn't seem to be too pleased with me. I took a hot bath earlier today and that made it happy while I was in the water, but then went back to aching again as soon as I stepped out. I think I may go get an ice pack in a minute to put on it.

Nic is doing well, he's been busy at work. He's getting ready for his trip to Canada in a few weeks and then his trip to the States immediately following that for the DIF annual conference. He should have a good time on the trips, but he'll be super busy too. I think he's trying to cram too much in to such a little time (he'll be gone a week total), but he thinks he can get everything accomplished so I guess we'll see.

Ok... I'm off to make an ice pack.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Officially Scared!

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to a woman from the DVLA (think of the Scottish version of the DMV in the States) about transferring our driver's licenses over. Since the UK doesn't have any sort of relationship with the US as far as driving is concerned, we have to do the whole test and such to get licenses (or licences here...) here in Aberdeen. I was curious just what that entailed and got the lowdown today from my friend Louise at the DVLA. I am now officially scared to death that I'm going to fail. I've had my license since my 16th birthday and I have always been a pretty confident driver. I enjoy driving quite a bit and have done my fair share going back and forth between Texas and Washington State twice, as well as carting around the kids at work. Nevertheless... I'm terrified.

We have 12 months to apply for a provisional license from the day we entered here (she couldn't quite clarify if that meant we had 12 months from October- when we first got here or 12 months from June- when we got our visas). Before the 12 months are up, we have to apply for a provisional license (which costs 50.00 pounds or $100.00) and schedule our driving tests. We have to take two tests: Theory and Practical.

The Theory portion of the test is 30.00 pounds ($60.00) and is in two sections. The first part is 50 questions in 57 minutes based on the highway code here. They don't mess around on that part... you have to get an 87% or above to pass... that's 43/50 or better. Then there is the hazard perception bit. This is pretty hard from what I've heard. Basically they show you little film clips on the computer and there are little hazards hidden that you have to click on with your mouse. You have to click on at least 44 of the 75 that you can see. From what has been mentioned to me, some of them are such little bitty hazards that even the most experienced driver will miss them. If you fail either portion of the theory test you have to retake the whole thing. Eek.

The Practical portion of the test is 56.50 or 67.00 pounds (so $113.00 to $134.00) depending on the day and is actually what has me more worried. First they check your eyesight (not a problem) by having you read a number plate (that's a license plate here...) from a distance. Then they ask you some "show me" and "tell me" questions, like how do you check your fluid levels, can you show me that... etc. These vehicle safety check questions shouldn't be too hard as long as they don't get too specific. Then you have to reverse around a corner, turn around in the road, do an emergency stop exercise and reverse park. AHH! I don't reverse unless it's out of my driveway or a parking spot. This is the part that terrifies me. I remember doing my test when I was 15 thinking that my heart was going to explode when I had to parallel park... it wasn't a good feeling. I think the biggest problem is that I know that someone will be watching me and criticizing my every move. I get really nervous during any sort of test and get major anxiety issues.

I think I'll order the little books to study up on the theory part and maybe practice a little and get more comfortable with the whole reverse parking bit. I'm hoping that it's not as bad as it seems, but from what I heard they love to fail people. I would let Nic get his license and keep mine from the US but he's making me get one too. I'm just really afraid to fail... for pride issues and financial ones.