Travel Planning

Well, a temp-to-perm assignment, for the time being. I’m still working as a pharmacy technician, but won’t be in retail anymore. Well, I’ll still be in retail part-time for at least the next few months, because I won’t be able to afford the COBRA payments if I were to leave completely. Instead I’m going to work at least enough hours to meet my share of the insurance payments until I can get on my new employer’s insurance. After that, I may decide to continue working at my old job part-time, because I like money. Also, did you see the words “temp-to-perm” up there? If I’m not a good match, I don’t want to end up completely without a job. So if it doesn’t work out I can always go back to my old retail job.

I really, really want it to work out, though.

What does that mean for this blog? Well, I’ll have more weekends off for travel, and even as a temp, I’ll be making about 110% of what I’m making at the retail job. If I stay on after the initial three months, and my pay goes up as much as the temp agency guy says it will, then I’ll be making 130% of what I’m making now. This means that I might be able to go back to putting a little money aside every week for an international trip in the next few years. Also, my day will now be ending, at a minimum, two hours earlier than it is now, so that will hopefully translate into (a) visiting museums and parks and things in the evening sometimes, and (b) more energy for blogging in general.

I’m still just so nervous, though. I accidentally discovered the off-label use of propranolol for anxiety (I was prescribed it to prevent migraines) when I was in and just out of college. I wonder if I could get away with intentionally using a beta-blocker that way.

So we’ve been doing the insulin shots for just about a week now. I say just about because we had a bit of an adventure. I gave Kiliamo his first shot on Saturday, April 1, at 7:00 pm. Then I got up at 7:00 am on April 2 and gave him his second. While I was showing Alex how to draw up the insulin, he bent the needle of the syringe and we had to start over. Somehow, we ended up knocking the vial off of the counter and it shattered.

So I called the vet to leave a message asking for a new vial and we had to just hope that another 13 or so hours without insulin wouldn’t cause any damage. Monday morning, I got a message from work asking if I would come in an hour late to cover that shift instead of my original shift, so I planned to get up whenever the vet called and get the insulin. When they hadn’t called by 9:30, I called. The new vial was ready, so I went to get it. While I was driving back from the vet’s office (the only way to make it easily back from the vet’s is to continue down that street, turn at the next corner, and come back up a different street), I get a text asking me to come in right then. Well, I hadn’t eaten, or showered, and still needed to give the cat his insulin. I said I couldn’t be there for less than 45 minutes (and that would have required me to eat while I drove), and someone else offered to come in instead. So I was back to the later shift.

By the time the cat got his insulin, though, it was after 10. When you move a cat’s insulin dose, you’re supposed to move it in half-hour increments. Moving it half an hour at a time, I would have ended up late for work on Wednesday. So I ended up moving it in 35-minute increments, and now he’s back at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  I’m going to have to move the doses again in June, because Alex stays with his dad for the month and so I’m going to have to work only the late shift and give him his dose at 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for the duration.

Well, it’s definitely been an experience.

In other news, I am often after Alex to take pictures of things and places that he thinks is important or memorable, because they won’t be there forever. I’m having that kind of experience on two levels right now. I was just at North Star Mall getting my pedometer steps in and I remembered that the mall has a basement. When my now-ex and I moved here, it was an Oshman’s Sporting Goods store. And as I walked around the mall, I could not remember where the escalator to the basement was. I think I’m pretty close, but still not quite enough.  I wish I’d thought to take a picture, if not of the escalator, of the spot where the escalator had been once it was gone.

The other thing is that the Santa Anita Derby horse race was today. I’ve been past Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The first time my now-ex and I went to California, I borrowed the rental car while he went to work and we agreed that I’d find a pay phone and call him at some specific time (I think it was 3:30?) so we could arrange when I’d come pick him up. I passed the racetrack at pretty close to the time we were supposed to talk and I went to a supermarket to make the call.

There was a brief pause there while I gave my cat his insulin. Where was I? Ah, yes, Santa Anita.

So I’ve looked for a supermarket near the racetrack a few times and can’t find anything. This summer, Alex and I will be staying in that part of the Los Angeles area, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find that supermarket again. I’m certainly going to try. It was more than 20 years ago, so the area has probably changed irretrievably (?), but just maybe I’ll get lucky and find that store again.

I’m still working on my next National Geographic post, but I need something for December 22, so here’s something short to use as a filler until I get the next post made (December 24, looks like).

So what do I take with me when I travel? I am only 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I generally book the cheap seats. This means that the overhead bins are generally filled by the time I get there and generally no one helps put my bag up. So I just check a bag. It costs a bit more, but compared to fighting over bin space (and having to drag the damn thing out of the bin when we land), a few dollars isn’t going to hurt.

This means that I need a smallish suitcase (since I may be willing to pay to check a bag, but I’m not willing to pay for an oversized bag) and a “personal item,” which is generally a backpack.

I used to travel with my laptop, and then with my tablet, but nowadays my phone is pretty much my only electronic item. Alex and I bought those lithium batteries that you can use to charge your phone when you’re away while we were in Idaho this year, so I take that as well.

Since I’m checking a bag, I bring whole containers of toiletries. My routine is pretty simple: shampoo, soap, the face cream with sunblock that I use instead of makeup, my leg razor, anti-perspirant and toothbrush, and toothpaste are pretty much it.

Then I bring enough shirts to change every day, plus one extra just in case. I bring two pairs of shoes (sandals and walking shoes) and a pair of socks for each day. I also bring two more pairs of underpants than the number of days I’ll be gone, in case of emergencies. I also have several of those broomstick skirts and generally bring at least one on each trip because they are very comfortable for traveling in. If I’m feeling particularly girly on one of my travel days, I may wear a skirt on that day as well. I prefer knit pants to jeans and have a couple of capri-length ones and some full-length ones, I’ll bring at least one pair of each and also a pair of shorts. If we’ll have access to a swimming pool, I’ll bring my bathing suit, but I haven’t used it since 2013. I wonder if it still fits. And, of course, a clean set of pajamas. I finally broke down and bought new pajama bottoms this year. Still using the same tops, though.

If I’m sure that I’m going to have access to a laundry room, I bring a few of those Tide Pods (I’m still working on the bag of them that I got in 2013 or so) and can cut down on the clothing that I bring with by a bit. I’ll bring only 2/3 as many shirts as I’ll need and maybe half as many pairs of socks and take out two pairs of underpants, so I’m down to one per day. That way if the washer is out of service and I end up doing laundry with shampoo in my hotel sink (and, yes, I have done that) I’ll still be able to make it through the trip.

Pretty much all that’s left is entertainment. If we’ll be gone a long time I’ll sometimes bring my portable DVD player with, but I’ve only done that once or twice. I do, however, always bring several books and at least one National Geographic issue. I generally have one hard copy book and put at least two books on my phone. That way my entertainment needs are covered whether I can use my phone or not.