1-19-14 Sunday (Golfing)

Jim’s employment status:

EmploymentI’ve mentioned our friend Beth numerous times throughout the blog.  Jim and Beth met while working at Bank W as underwriters 4 years ago.  We all became friends.  Jim left Bank W just shy of a year and went to work for his most recently departed employer.  Later I got into Bank W as a phone banker.  I wanted to get into underwriting and Beth pushed and pushed to get me here with success.  I owe this position to her.  Perhaps I would have gotten in on my own but I think her referral made a big difference.  Beth is a high performer in every department she has been in so she probably has a lot of weight.  Shortly after I started, she moved into a new department, underwriting with different assets.

Fast forward 8 or so months and Beth has been promoted and moved into another department but still underwriting.  She pushed hard to her departing position’s supervisor to get Jim in.  

employment_agreementJim had a phone interview and was told he’d hear back at the end of the week.  He didn’t hear anything for 2 weeks and then was finally called for an in person interview.  Eventually the offer of employment came in on Friday 1/10.  Jim counter offered and on Monday, all was worked out and he starts Monday 1/27!  Yay!

The funny thing is all 3 of us are working in different departments as underwriters but in the same building and on the same floor.  Our building is “E” shaped.  We are a 30-45 second walk from one another.   Jim’s new start date is about a week’s difference from when he worked here 4 years ago!


Back update:

spineMonday the 13th I went to my primary care physician for a blood pressure and cholesterol follow-up appointment.  I saw the Physician’s Assistant.  I told him about my back issues and the MRI findings just to let him know what was going on.  He scoffed at the idea of chiropractic care and told me to see a spine/back specialist.  I scoffed at that idea.  Funny because a couple of weeks ago one of the chiropractors was mentioning chiropractic care is the way to go because regular physicians will want to poke me with needles and do surgery.

Later in the afternoon, I met with Dr. Wolf.  He recommended I use that DRS machine thingy but insurance won’t cover it.  He wants to use it on me 4 times a week for 6 weeks.  It’s $150 a session X 4 days a week = $600 a week X 6 weeks = $3600.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  So now, I’m waiting to get my X-ray and MRI CDs from my chiro and then get a second opinion from a spine/back doctor.  Oy.


We bought a used golf cart off of Craig’s List. No we don’t play golf and it won’t even go to a golf course.  It’s for the Augusta Campground. 90% of the RVers/residents here have one and we need to keep up with the Jones’.  It comes in handy for going to the slightly offsite bar and the pool. We’re not lazy.  We’re far away from the pool and in the summer that can be miserable.  We go to the pool to cool off but by the time we get back to the RV we’re sweating again.  Don’t judge.

2014-01-17 003

We had to drive approximately an hour away (Statesville) to see the golf cart.  Once we agreed we wanted it, Jim got his best price and plans were set into motion to buy it.  A day or 2 later, Jim rented a Uhaul trailer and then met the seller at a bank to run the cash through their machine to ensure it wasn’t counterfeit.  Voila, there it is.

We decided I should take a half day Friday so that we could arrive in Augusta in daylight with the cart.  At that point we didn’t even know Monday was a holiday until Jim’s coworker and he were setting up lunch plans and she said something about if I’d be able to join or if I was off.  Jim asked me if it was some holiday and and then I remembered.  “I think it’s Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday!”  I confirmed on the calendar.  I didn’t think I was off.  I checked a work holiday schedule that confirmed I was off but I still didn’t believe it.  I guess I was used to working at the phone bank and my site was open for most holidays.  This is the first full year I’m in underwriting.  The next day at work I confirmed on my calendar and just double checked with a coworker.  Score!  3 days weekend with an early Friday start!

On Friday, Jim had most everything loaded up.  I left work at noon, came home, we ate a sub, loaded the Rav4 with our last minute stuff, grabbed the dog and drove to Augusta.  The trip went fine.  I unpacked while Jim went to UHaul to return the trailer.

My Job:

career-ladderLast week was my manager’s last day in our department.  She took a new position within the company as a quality control type role.  Last Friday, we took her to lunch and presented her with a Coach gift card for $120.  She was teary. 

We were told that no new supervisor would be assigned because another department was listing a position and we’d be losing 15 people to that.  They’d then take our team of 10 or so and divide us up amongst the other teams accordingly.  New managers, new team mates, new seats. 

On my half day Friday, they announced the changes.  Who was going where?  I am staying in my area, and quite possibly in my same seat but would of course have a new manager and would also be working the affluent clientele's applications.  I would define affluent according to my bank but I think that would be saying too much.

I’m not sure how I was chosen for this but I was.  It will look good on a résumé I suppose.  When I was in phone bank I had taken a position in Premier which was with affluent clients.  I’m sure they didn’t dive into my past to match me to this, especially since there was no pattern for the other selectees.  I’m just gonna roll with it.

A Purchase:

We went to Costco with friends Paul and Jeff.  Unfortunately, we don’t have one near us in Charlotte.  It’s too far at 30 minutes away.  Anyway, I spotted a Panasonic phone system that allows us to connect our cell phones to it.  It allows for 2 cell phones to be linked at the same time via Blue Tooth.  So when a cell phone rings, the phone system will ring it through all the phones and we can talk from any of the handsets.  This is perfect for not missing calls when we’re up stairs and the phones are downstairs or vice versa.  Depending on who’s cell phone is ringing can be determined by the ring tone.  We can also make outgoing calls from it using the landline or any of the cell phones.  It also features the ability to import contacts from the cell into the Panasonic.


I never knew this technology existed.  Googling around though, I see several manufacturers (AT&T, VTech, etc) have this.  Where have I been?  Obviously not in the phone system section of stores.

This is exciting because I want to ditch our landline and probably cable too.  We’ll save over $100 a month!

That’s all I got!

1-8-14 Wednesday (Guess What Day It Is)

Christmas day was nice.  Beth and her family hosted.  We had appetizers galore followed by beef filets on the grill.  Yummy.  We had a great time.

The day after Christmas, William and Craig, friends from Michigan, stopped at our house for the night, en route to Florida.  With them, their German foreign exchange student and his friend, made for 4.  They arrived late evening, we chit chatted for a few and then went out to Intermezzo, a Serbian restaurant.  Unfortunately they departed fairly early the following morning.  They did manage to stay long enough for pumpkin waffles and sausage though.  All in all, other than Facebook contact, we haven’t since them in over 10 years.  It was a nice visit!

New Years Eve was spent with friends at Beth’s house.  It was appetizers galore.  Everyone brought something.  It doesn’t feel quite as fattening when I’m grazing on bite sized foods.

terminatorTNSo, a couple of months ago I explained what Jim’s employer does.  Jim works for A but underwrites for B based on contracts.  Several times, we’ve had a scare where company B’s contract expires and they don’t renew.  This leaves Jim without work.  Typically when they know a new contract is coming up, they keep him on until it’s ready to go.  This time, there were no upcoming contracts and Jim was terminated.  They kept him on the books for a few weeks as a form of severance.  It’s been a scary few weeks. He’s job hunting.

Back pain update: I went for my MRI Thursday 1/2.  They actually did it in the evening. It was a seated MRI.  Sounds easy right?  Well after 20 minutes, my back felt like it was on fire from the pain.  It was hard to sit still but I did it.

MRI machineAbove: That’s not me in the photo.  It may not even be a real patient.  It could be a model or perhaps a struggling actress (or I think it’s politically correct to call male and females actors) from Hollywood.  California, not Florida.

The following Monday (1/6) week I gave my chiropractor the disk with all of the images.  On Wednesday’s appointment, they hadn’t received the MRI reading report but my chiropractor was able to interpret some of it for now.  I have a bulging disc.  The photo below is my actual MRI.  MRI Lumbar Lateral 01-02-14 - Edited

She feels that it can be treated without surgery using some device, the DRS Protocol.  The machine link is from my chiropractor’s website.

DRS Protocol

I actually see 2 chiropractors, husband and wife team.  Her name is Dr. Pepper.  Really.  She’s the cutest size zero (I saw the tag on her lab coat).  He’s Dr. Wolf.  They’re a 5 minute walk within my job’s complex.  Nice and convenient.   They both think I need to lose this gut.  Yeah, working on it.  Since October, I’m down 15 pounds.  I also need to strengthen my core.  I’ve been told to do planks and some other exercises.

The chiro emailed me the report, here’s a blip of it:


It’s pretty much what she saw already.  We’ll go over the results on Monday’s appointment.

On a lighter note, here’s a Christmas card we received from our Augusta friend, Paul and Jeff.  It’s fit Jim and I (more Jim) perfectly and is hilarious.

Christmas Card

In other news, we received these in the mail. Great marketing carried over from TV to print.

Geico Camel