Monday, June 29, 2009

At the end of the weekend the score is Kate 2 - Ocean 1

A couple of my friends have been out of town for the last week or so, meaning I've been more focused on work as I have fewer distractions. (i.e. opportunities to have fun) That is all for the best, actually, as I've been assigned a more complicated project than usual so I can't glide through my work with the ease that I'm used to. On the one hand, it's maddening to having a project take so long, on the other, it is a refreshing challenge.

This weekend was a dive weekend. On Saturday Zac and I decided to try our hands at diving by ourselves, without our usual cohorts. We decided to hit up our most comfortable diving location to compensate for the lack of additional people. We knew that the surf forecast called for some waves, but we decided to get a tank each and head out to see what it looked like anyhow. Once we got there we saw that there was, indeed, some decent waves hitting the shore. Our entry point had even more wave action, due to the way the beach area is confined by a concrete wall on one side and a rock formation on the other. The channel magnifies the waves as they roll in. Past the shore break it didn't look too bad, however.

We asked some divers who were finished with their dives what they thought of the conditions. They all expressed some level of concern about being tossed around either out at the dive sight on on the way in. Zac and I decided that the only way you get better at diving in more difficult conditions is to give it a shot. If it didn't work, we'd just come back in and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

Well, it went . . . [and the award for Understatement of the Year goes to me] . . . poorly. Once I waded into the water I managed to get my fins on quickly, but I couldn't see anything underwater. The surf was crashing so violently that the water was nothing but tiny little air bubbles, impairing my ability to know which way was up and where Zac was. I pulled my head up out of the water to try and find Zac and saw that he was only a couple of feet away from me. Then I got smacked by a wave. It dislodged my mask. I panicked a little and tried to bob on the surface to clear it, but another wave rolled right in, knocking it clear off. That's when I sucked in a bunch of water through my nose, causing me to start coughing uncontrollably. (Remember, this didn't go well the last time that happened.)

I managed to get Zac's attention, but I had to keep closing my eyes each time another wave pummeled me. Not being able to see is frustrating, especially knowing that I was not too far from the aforementioned concrete wall. I knew that I needed to get out before I got tossed into the wall, cracking my head or breaking a rib. I wasn't doing well. I was panicked. I couldn't breath very well and could only take short, shallow breaths because I could never cough enough. I hollered at Zac, "I need to go in. I need your help." Sure enough, my Knight in Shining Armor grabbed my BCD and helped get me to shore. I had to crawl up the sand because I had spent all my energy trying to stay above the waves. Trying not to drown is physically taxing work.

I wanted to throw up, because all I could taste was salt, but I didn't. Zac helped me get me and my gear up to the fresh water showers so I rinse off. I sat under the water, trying to catch my breath, trying to calm down. It was a pretty terrible experience. Probably worse than the last time with Caz, because at least there I knew that it was just a straight shot to the surface. This time I was at the mercy of the waves. I was upset at myself for freaking out again, and upset that we decided to try it when we probably should have known better.

We decided to go back out on Sunday for a two tank dive with Ken, up at our second most familiar dive site. Luckily it was F-L-A-T, flat. The first dive wasn't too interesting, which was okay as I just wanted to get back on that horse of diving. Our second dive rocked. We saw about 8-10 turtles and two decent sized Whitemouth Moray Eels. Usually eels just hang out in their nooks and crevasses, but this day one of the eels decided to get out and swim away. That was cool, and a little creepy. Eels are just not cuddly. It's amazing to watch how they move in the water, but they're just not as endearing as boxfish.

I also got to practice my navigation skills, which was fun. Ken and Zac both have compasses with their gear. The rental gear I get each time does not. Ken offered to lend me his compass for the two dives so I could practice being the leader for the first time. I managed to get the three of us out to the dive site and back again with no issues. Up til now I've always had to follow someone else who knew the way. It was rather empowering to be in front. (Also, it meant I could set the pace which is nice when I'm not the fastest swimmer in the bunch.) I think I might have to get a compass of my own, and I also need a flashlight since we're going to go diving with Manta Rays on the Big Island in four weeks!

All in all, it was a good weekend. Now I have to go out and buy another mask and snorkel because the ocean claimed mine on Saturday. Not only am I upset that I have to dish out the cash for a new one when the other one was only two months old, but I'm upset that I littered in the ocean. I really hope that some other diver out there found it and either kept it, or at least took it out of the ocean and threw it in the garbage if they didn't want it. When we were diving a couple of weeks ago I saw a snorkel lying on the ocean floor and I picked it up. Hopefully, likewise, someone will be able to clean up after me. The last thing I want is the Ocean ticked off at me for being a litter bug.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brussels sprouts

You know how brussels sprouts are good for you but you really don't want to eat them? That's how I feel about the job fair tomorrow. I know it would be good for me, but I really don't want to go. [For the record, I thought it was brussel sprouts, but it is, indeed, brussels sprout.] I recently spoke with my friend and we're both wavering in our commitment to attending. Really the ball is in my court. If I decide to go, she'll tag along. If I decide not to go, we'll figure out some other way to burn a morning. I told her that I'd give her a call in a couple of hours with a final decision.

I took those couple of hours to check the websites of the employers that are going to be present at the job fair. I figured I should check to see what kind of jobs they might be hiring for. Interestingly, many of the websites have no positions posted. Hmmm. Makes me wonder what they're going to be hiring for if they have no openings. Or, alternatively, they do have openings but are keeping those openings secret. Tricky employers. Again, it's hard to hone my sales pitch to fit a job if I don't know what those secret non-open jobs are.

It's tough to get the motivation to look for jobs when you're pretty much content with the one you have. The only thing about my current employment is that it will eventually end, and the timeline is probably some time in the early fall. So this is like preventative medicine - looking for a job before I need it, instead of rushing to the ER of job-hunting-induced-panic once they tell me my services are no longer needed. It would be a very responsible thing to do, to find a job before becoming unemployed. Very adult.

But my inner three-year-old is wailing, "But I don't wanna! Wahhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Perhaps if I take a break for lunch I'll gain a better prospective on what I am going to do. But to heck with brussels sprouts. The inner three-year-old wants a grilled cheese.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I suppose I should post something

I haven't had much to talk about lately, simply because it's all been fairly routine around here. My life lately has involved a balance of working, sleeping, eating, diving, racquetball, and socializing. I'm hoping to get some photos from Ken of our dives this weekend so I can post some of those. They were decent dives. We went to Three Tables for the first one and Electric Beach for the second. It seems like no matter how much I dive though, I forget how dehydrated I feel that day and the next. The salt, sun and exertion are a potent energy-drainer.

I was able to drop a couple pounds of weight for these last couple of dives. I had been diving with 18lbs attached to me; this time I went out with 16. They say that as you become a more skilled diver, you need less and less added weight to control your buoyancy. (There are people that dive with half of what I have.) Dropping the weight is also helpful because it means your air consumption is more efficient. I found that I had at least 200 psi more than usual left in my tank yesterday at the end of our dives. That's good because it means more time on the bottom looking at cool stuff in the future. I still need to get out on a boat dive, but I like how cheap it is just to walk into the ocean.

Not much else new to report. I'm still working from home, telecommuting back to my job in MN. I'm going to be going to a job fair on Friday with a friend, which should be interesting. I had one experience with a traditional job fair back in MN, and it wasn't a good one. I find them to be soul-crushing, and that's being generous. The employers know they have the upper hand (especially in this economy) and you have 20 seconds to try to convince them to interview you for a job (please, any job!) in their company. You don't know what jobs they have available or if you're even qualified. Despite the fact you're flying totally blind you have to keep repeating "I'm a team player, highly motivated and I am confident that I'm the best candidate" through a strained smiled. Oh, how I hate job fairs.

I looked at the list of employers that were going to be present and I didn't see any organization/company that I would be very interested in working for, but at the very least the day will give me a chance to dust off some of my work clothes that have been hiding in my closet for . . . .
yeesh. A couple of years? I'm not even sure that any of my grown-up clothes still fit. I think it might be time to run upstairs and start trying things on. If nothing fits I might have to go out and buy a new pair of slacks so I can wear them on Friday. And then put them back into the closet. The joys of working from home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pomp and circumstance

My girls walk across that high school graduation stage on Thursday. This is my heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to each of them.

And, girls, now that you are alumni keep in mind, Tiger pride never fades. Do right by the school that gave you so much for the last four years. You might not realize it right away, but our alumni are one of the reasons why South High has so many resources available to it. Someday I hope you find the time or means to contribute something back.

Heck, maybe you'll consider coaching. :)

Congratulations Class of 2009! Best wishes for success down whichever road you're heading.