July 31, 2014

Back In The Saddle

It's been a while, but it's not like I don't have a reason.  Hell, to be honest I didn't even really need a reason, but I had one nevertheless.  The past couple of weeks have been a little rough.  Sure, I'm probably better off, but I'm still kinda shaken about the whole thing.  I haven't done much of anything, to be honest, other than sleep a lot.  I left my apartment for the first time this week earlier today... went grocery shopping.  I hadn't actually talked since Monday night, either.  I suspect the cute girl at the cash register thought I was a freak, but there's nothing unusual about that... one of the reasons I became a hermit in the first place, actually.  Now that I don't actually HAVE to go out into the world every day, it's easier.  That's the problem with being a hermit, though... you feel so cut off.  It takes me two hours every morning to get out onto the moors, collect my berries, chastise myself, then two hours back in the evening.

Well, I may still be a flesh and meat hermit, but a cyberhermit?  That's just overkill.  So I'm shaking the dust off my keyboard and returning to The Pond.  Hopefully I'll be posting something every day, though I make no promises about the quality.  Then again, you folks clearly don't come here for quality. 

I hope to live up to your standards.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:24 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 24, 2014

Unsurprising Surprise

Okay, I've managed to compose my thoughts enough to explain just exactly what's going on over on this side of the screen.  To whit:

I'm unemployed.

Monday afternoon, the Regional Manager stopped into the Duck U Bookstore, asked me casual questions about how the renovations to the building were coming, then fired me.  While I wasn't expecting it to occur, particularly after attending the regional meeting last week, long time readers of The Pond know that I've been living with a metaphorical sword over my head for the past year.  That took a lot of the terror out of it when it finally happened.  It also was good that he was at least polite about it: none of that "get out, we'll box and ship your stuff," he let me pack up the collected rubber ducks, emergency tie, cell-phone speakers, bag o' coal, that sorta thing.  And then I left my place of employ for the past ten years, drove home, and took a nap.

I'll admit, I'm not exactly heartbroken.  Oh, sure, I'm unemployed in a rather poor economy, and that's not exactly woo-hoo-making, but we're talking about a job that hasn't let me take a real vacation since December 2011, and has required me to work 10-12 hours daily for the past year, including most Saturdays.  I think, and I say this with no hyperbole, that the job was legitimately killing me.  So I haven't done much of anything, and nothing of any redeeming value to society, since Monday afternoon.

I'm okay with that.  Oh, I met some great people over the 10 years I was there... students, faculty and staff alike, not to mention people from the company... and I'll miss them, surely.  But I thought it would hurt more to lose this job... after all, it's the longest I've ever been at one place by years.  However, there's been no more work nightmares, no more waking up at 3am to mull over something that happened the previous day at work, and this is most important, I can actually relax for the first time in almost exactly a year.  And now, it's time for something new.
That's always exciting.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:31 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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July 18, 2014

Another Year, Another Business Trip!

Longtime readers of The Pond know that I'm the manager of The Duck U Bookstore.  Every summer, the company assembles all of its managers to pass along the game plan for the coming school year.  In odd-numbered years, this is at the National Conference in Orlando.  In the even-numbered years, regions of stores get together at where-ever is local for them.  Two years ago, my region (Wisconsin, Minnesota, NoDak and one single store from Illinois) met in LaCrosse for talking, grilled food, a surprise train, and a chainsaw sculpture.  This year was a regional meeting in the cosmopolitan city of... Milwaukee.

pictured: Milwaukee's most modern mode of conveyance
Actually, I was quite surprised by how attractive a city Milwaukee is, particularly downtown in the "Riverwalk" area.  An area, I might add, I experienced in detail as the Thursday dinner for the meeting was on a riverine cruise boat named the Brew City Queen II.  I neglected to ask what happened to the first of her name.  Anyway, a pleasant two hour cruise down, then up, the Milwaukee river, then out onto Lake Michigan for a short while, then back.  I will honestly say that sipping on a beverage of choice while gliding up the river listening to smooth jazz is quite a pleasant way of spending an evening.

But of course I was joined on the expedition by that inveterate traveler Wanderduck.  The first manager trip was via land.  The second, the airplane was our transport.  It only figures that the sea should be how we got around this time.

It was much more water than he'd ever seen at once... he was more than a little nervous when we cleared the breakwater off Milwaukee's harbor and the BCQII took on an unpleasant little corkscrewing roll.  I'd heard of times when ships would take on positive values in pitch, yaw and roll simultaneously, but never dreamed I'd experience it on a partyboat.  While I wasn't sick, nor even vaguely discomfited, it was a disconcerting feeling to say the least.  Wanderduck desperately wanted to be away from the edge, not wanting to end up too close to Lake Michigan.  Truth be told, I felt much the same way... I didn't want him to end up in Lake Michigan either.  No matter how cool Cap'n Bob was, I suspect he'd frown on my pleas to circle back and try to recover an overboard rubber duckie.

Bright Lights, Little Duckie
All in all, I'd recommend such a cruise to any group of people in a situation such as this.  Good times were had by most, the food and drink were tasty, and Wanderduck made a bunch of new fans... what's not to like?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:04 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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July 10, 2014

Into The Black

I was once asked by someone who really should have known better what it felt like when I was depressed.  I thought about it for a while, then described it as walking down a very long, very dark hallway, knowing I couldn't turn around, and there wasn't any light at the far end.

And there never was going to be.

When these things hit, I slowly lose interest in just about everything.  If I actually do anything, it's pretty much by rote.  I have clean laundry sitting in a bag, waiting to be dealt with... it's been there for three days.  The towels have been in another bag since last week.

It's been a while since I haven't felt this way.  You might know the feeling, where simply the thought of leaving your apartment/house/box/spot under the bridge/whatever is enough to make you whimper or tear up.  Deal with people?  Heck with that!

Unfortunately, most of us don't have the luxury of being able to crawl under the bed.  Damn shame, that.

So if you're wondering why The Pond has been... um... empty of late, there's why.  It's not even that I don't have stuff to write about; I do!  I just can't bring myself to care about it.  Any of it.  Hell, I even missed The Pond's 9th Anniversary.

So, um, yeah.  Got anything you want me to talk about?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:06 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 02, 2014

This Or That

On one hand, it's 1010pm and I've just gotten home.  That's not so good.

On the other hand, I now have a complete load of clean towels and washcloths.  That's very good.

On the gripping hand, The DuckMobile rolled a natural 1 and came to a halt on the side of the road.  That's not very good at all.

On the... um... second other hand, it was the road in my apartment complex, 20 yards short of the crest of a hill that leads down to Pond Central's parking lot, and Ph.Duck was nice enough to help me get it there, so that's about as good as I can hope for.

On the whole, however, crap on a stick.

UPDATE: Main Rear Seal leak.  Cost of fixing it and the exhaust system where it's been leaking (and chewing away at the pipe) is, and I quote, "more than the car is worth."  Sez you, buster.  Anyway, car works again, I just need to watch the oil levels... that's what happened.  Oil was so low that the engine was, essentially, cutting out to keep from grenading itself.  *sigh* 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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