Covid and other ills

So, it’s been a year today since the first confirmed Covid case in Minnesota. A full year of watching a pandemic unfold in slow motion. And government responses unfold in even slower motion.

It’s been a weird year, that’s for sure. Masks sort of feel… normal. It’s the same as a seatbelt for me; I feel very uncomfortable if I’m not wearing one. And hand sanitizer stations are de rigeur. I also notice any time I touch my face now.

So while Covid cases are huge here in the US (as is the death toll), other infections are way WAY down. I was listening to public radio the other day and they reported that there really hasn’t been a flu season. At all.

Last year, something like 400,000 Americans were hospitalized with complications from getting the flu. This year? 146.

Not 146,000– just 146. Total.

Oh, and this isn’t just in the United States. This is around the world. The flu season has basically been non-existent.

That’s crazy, right? The medical professionals are attributing it to distance learning in schools, social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, sanitizing, etc. There was also a big push to vaccinate for the flu to help protect folks. All this prophylaxis has really handed the flu it’s ass.

So why the Covid infections still? Well, people are still idiots and Covid is 4 times more infectious than the flu. Plus- no real vaccine until very recently.

I bet if the CDC looks at other data: colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, or other infections, I can almost guarantee those are all down too. All the disinfecting and social distancing.

For me personally? I usually have 2-3 colds per year and maybe one bout of step or tonsillitis every other year or so. This year I can’t remember having a single cold. And no other sicknesses to speak of either.

I know everyone wants to “get back to normal”- but I kinda hope the masks and hand sanitizer thing continue. Especially in winter months. And especially during things like plane travel.

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Woofy Wednesday

I got an email from the job— basically telling me they haven’t decided yet. Great. So in the meantime: dickstraction.

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The Waiting Game

I was really hoping to receive a job offer by Friday last week. Then I would have had the weekend to mull it over, perhaps counter offer then, and then hammer out a deal. But no such luck. I haven’t heard anything since I left the interview Wednesday afternoon.

So now I wait.

Everything was moving so quickly last week. The initial phone screen. The zoom interview. Then the face to face. It really felt like they were going to act quickly on this. But now since there’s nothing, I’m kinda getting nervous. Like- are there other candidates? Or maybe they already hired someone and nobody wants to send me the “thanks but no thanks” email?

I know they’re in negotiations with a big medical device company so I’m sure that’s taking up a huge portion of their time. But still, the longer you his drags out, the less hopeful I become.

I find myself compulsively checking my email on my phone- just to see if anything has come through yet. Uggh.

And I really don’t want to have to be the one to follow up after a week to see if “they have any additional questions for me” and to reassure them that “I’m still interested and can be a valuable asset to their team”. Or some such.

The waiting is making my tummy oogy.

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On Wednesday I had a third interview for that new opportunity I’ve been exploring as of late. This was a face to face interview at the facility where I saw the product and their controls.

I think the interview went well.

It was with the director of operations who would be my boss. It was at the end of the day so everyone else had basically left the building. We spent close to 1.5 hours talking about the product, current processes, audit findings, visions for future development, etc. We also had frank discussions about their concerns that their place is too small for me and about why I’m looking for a change.

Overall I’m still excited about the opportunity. There are lots of positives: it’s medical device, a useful product, fairly simple product lines, small manufacturing site, good business partnerships, fancy tech, positive growth even during Covid, chance for international travel, etc. And as things continue to get shittier where I work, I am desperate for a change of scene.

The only potential sticking point is salary, as it’s going to be a pay cut from what I currently make. The rest of the benefits appear fairly standard from what was in the job description. I’m hoping to get an offer soon which will detail all of that information. (I’ve already done an extensive pro/con list, so I’m just waiting for details).

Now I’m in that waiting mode. Do they want me? We’re they impressed enough? What will I do if they do offer?

My tummy is all oogy thinking about it.

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Thirsty Thursday

I’ve had some interviews. I’ve had some sexytimez. Let’s celebrate with hawt menz.

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Adventures With Mom

I went down to visit mom this past weekend. She’s doing ok, but she just isn’t comfortable in her house. It’s furniture, but it’s also her worn out knee and ankles. And her Parkinson’s. It’s frustrating because I don’t know to help her.

I gave her homework to do- to contact the Parkinson’s people and see what they suggested for better furniture to help her. Brands or specific styles or powered equipment— anything that they might have come across that helps their patients. Their suggestion? Just go furniture shopping.

Wow. Big help. Thanks.

So, in addition to getting her house back together from Christmas (last bit of decorations down, things stored, regular decorations up) and shoveling her driveway, she wanted to go look for a new chair solution. So I got her packed up and we went to Des Moines to the furniture stores.

It was an… adventure.

The first place we went didn’t have anything. The second place had many options, but was pretty crowded. And we had to maneuver her around using a wheelchair and a walker.

The most stressful part for me was when she had to go to the bathroom. She has slight incontinence issues, and when she has to pee- she has to pee like now. So we were testing a chair when suddenly she had to go.

So naturally I start to panic. We get her quickly into her wheelchair. She’s holding her walker and I start the dash for the bathrooms. And when we get to the bathrooms there is a line for the women’s. This goes quickly, but when we get there I realize I’m going to have to take her in. Which I don’t know how that’s going to go over.

But then we notice the stalls are not handicap accessible.


So I’m now in crisis mode, and thinking I can maybe help her into the men’s stalls, but then mom says the store should have handi stalls somewhere. So I flag down an associate and yes- they have them at the front of the store.

So we’re off and running again. Aaaaand the family bathroom is occupied. And they’re cleaning the women’s. FUUUUUUCK!!! So fuck it all, I took her into the men’s room and got her to the handi stall. I stayed in there to help and I was just hoping nobody would have a problem with my choice.

The men using the bathroom were all fine. The bathroom attendant? Not so much.

Mom and I exit the bathroom and the bathroom cleaner person looks at us and says “Women’s room is that way”. I smile and nod and say “yup”. But again he says “you use women’s room”. And now I have reached volcanic stage.

So I wheel on him and say “We would have- only it wasn’t available because you were cleaning it. And the family restroom was being used. We had a bathroom emergency so I took her into the men’s. We are not apologizing for that!”

As I was wheeling mom back to the chairs area, she was all “Gosh, I can’t believe he had a problem with that” to which I said “Fuck them”. She agreed.

We did wind up getting her a new power lift chair that has a billion adjustments possible. Hopefully this will allow her to get comfortable and be able to watch tv head on. And maybe sleep some too.

We had one more bathroom “emergency” before we left the store, but this one was much better managed through the family restroom. Then we were off for home. And at the very least I got her out and about.

Mom’s going to have to get rid of a love seat in her living room to accommodate the new chair, which is good because she has too much uncomfortable furniture stuffed into her house.

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Interview #1

So I had my TEAMS video interview this morning at 9. It was scheduled to go to 9:30– it went until 9:50 (and they had a 10 am meeting to prepare for).

I think it went pretty well.

Conversation was easy. It was more real and organic than the “tell me of a time when you had to _______ and how you solved _______”.

It’s definitely a small company, but with good things on the horizon. And I like their product and what they do. I’d definitely be wearing many hats and not have people to manage (which honestly would delight me to no end).

I probably won’t hear back anything until next week, regardless of what they decide to do. I’m kinda hoping they make me an offer. I mean, heck. I’d get out of my shitty situation and they’d be getting me and my vast experience for a song!

Even if things don’t work out in this position after a year or two, I’d be getting valuable medical device quality systems experience which would be great resume fodder. I’ve been wanting to get away from automotive and into medical device for quite some time.

More fingers crossed.

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As folks probably know, I hate my job. More specifically I hate the lack of support I get, the toxic environment, the downward spiral, the stress, the excessive meetings, etc. So I’ve been looking for a new job- basically since last fall.

Of course Covid hasn’t made this easy.

Where I live, most job openings which fit my skill set are in the medical device manufacture area. Unfortunately, those jobs also tend to require medical device manufacture experience and direct experience with ISO 13485, which I don’t have. So, sadly, most opportunities are not available to me. But if the job description just says “suggested experience”… I’ve been applying.

Today I had a preliminary phone conversation with a small, start-up medical device manufacturing company. They are on the cusp of a big contract with a large player in the industry, and they are also on the cusp of getting certified to ISO 13485. So while there is much work ahead, there is also opportunity. And growth.

What I do know is that it’s a tier 1 medical device manufacturer (meaning low risk to patients) – so not a heart valve or hip implant or anything. It’s also insanely close to where I live, on a par or closer than my current job. It’s also kind of a startup, so I’d probably get to wear many hats and it would be easier to implement systems.

Downsides are that it’s small, so everybody gonna be up in everybody’s business (especially HR). Because of that I worry about the gay thing and diversity, harassment, etc. And the position would be a cut in pay. The benefits may be a wash, but probably worse than my current job.

Just so long as there is health care and a 401k program, and a decent work environment it may be worth considering.

Honestly? The fact that it’s a new job in a cleaner environment, deals with medical tech so I get my foot in the door there, and is biking distance from my condo makes me really excited.

I have a video call interview tomorrow morning at 9. Finger’s crossed.

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“Ass” Wednesday

See what I did there? Welcome to Lent everyone- just don’t give up good ass.

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Happy V Day

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